Building Partnerships in Construction

Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro once said, “Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.” For the first 18 months of its existence, the Office to Advance Women Apprentices Manitoba has been adding drops to an ocean with the help of partners across the industry. Working with organizations such as the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) exemplifies how true partnership can lead to the mutual benefit of all. 

Cooperation Makes It Happen 

As an integral player in the province’s construction industry, the MCSC board is comprised of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA), Manitoba Home Builders Association (MHBA), Manitoba Building Trades (MBT), Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA) and First Peoples Development Inc. (FPDI). Its mission is to promote and co-ordinate the development of a diverse, inclusive, well educated workforce in support of careers of choice in a dynamic and evolving construction industry.

The New Kid on the Block

So when the Office to Advance Women Apprentices came to Manitoba, Carol Paul, executive director of the MCSC reached out to help the office connect with the industry and provide whatever support was needed to reach its goals. 

“When you are the new kid on the block, it really helps to have a friend to open doors for you,” says Andrea Canada, project coordinator with the office.

MCSC has been a leader in finding innovative ways to promote careers in construction to diverse groups including youth, Indigenous workers, newcomers and women. Over the course of the last year, MCSC has taken the lead and partnered with the office on several projects to support the entry and advancement of women in the skilled construction trades.

Manitoba Women in Trades Conference: A First of its Kind

In February 2020, MCSC held Manitoba’s first Women in Trades conference which was attended by 530 participants, 51 presenters, and 40 trade show booths bringing tradeswomen together with employers, educators, and stakeholders in the industry. MCSC sponsored 75 youth, Indigenous, and newcomer women to attend the event. MCSC took every opportunity to promote the work of the office, which resulted in both increased client and employer registrations.

A follow up conference is scheduled to take place on Oct. 27, 2021 and the office will continue to work closely with the sector council on that project.

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

The Breaking Barriers Building Bridges Workshop was another project which came from feedback at the conference. This one-day workshop is offered to women already working in the construction industry or interested in learning more. The intent is to create a forum for women to discuss challenges and successes of working in the industry and share experiences on furthering their careers in construction. The workshop was launched virtually in October.

“Who better to facilitate a workshop to support women than the Office to Advance Women Apprentices?” says Carol. “This workshop allows for honest conversations and connects women to supporting organizations such as Manitoba Women in Construction and Build Together. OAWA and MCSC believe we are always stronger working together.”   

Promoting Industry Role Models

The MCSC and the office have also partnered on the Women in Trades Profiles book. The booklet, which will be available in print and digitally, highlights Manitoba women, successfully working in different construction trades. 

“Women will relate to the stories of other Manitoba women in trades and will see evidence of the multiple opportunities available in construction!” Carol says.  

“The experience of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices Newfoundland and Labrador shows that this work cannot be done without the participation of partners in the industry. We are extremely fortunate as a new organization in Manitoba to have the support of the Manitoba Construction Sector Council,” Andrea says. “Together, we will create a stronger, more diverse construction workforce where tradeswomen can flourish in their careers and help to build Manitoba.”

Get in Touch 

If you’d like to partner with the office to advance women in the construction sector, or if you know a woman interested in the trades, get in touch with us. We can help improve the outcomes for women and the construction industry in Manitoba.

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