Women in the kitchen, renovating

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finding a home renovator in Toronto is difficult, but finding one owned and operated by women that also mentors women in construction trades borders on impossible. Enter Wo-Built, whose CEO Martina Ernst I met at the first Toronto Girl Geek Dinner last month; she and her partner have decades of experience in design, project management, building and construction. What I really like is that they offer pre-apprenticeship training and job shadowing for women considering a trade but not sure which one that they might choose, as well as having a commitment to hiring women already skilled in trades to work on their projects.

Trades have, in my opinion, been given short shrift in the past 20 years with every boomer wanting their kids to go to university even if they were more suited to being a plumber (which probably makes them more money than that sociology degree, too). The result is a lack of skilled tradespeople and a glut of people leaving university with no real idea of what they want to do with that degree that their parents paid for; I’m not saying that everyone is in that position, just that I’ve seen some examples first-hand. Martina’s offering a chance for something different for young women.

2 Comments

  1. lonya says:

    Having worked in an office my entire working life I wish these opportunities were available to me when I was making my career choices. Girls today, are lucky that non-traditional careers such as the trades are acceptable options for them and, that the help to get into the trades is much more accessible.

  2. sandy says:

    Lonya, I see that you’re a staff writer at Wo-Built, so have the chance to see the opportunities for women in the construction trades first-hand. I did my engineering degree in the late 70’s/early 80’s, and that often-hostile environment was still much more welcoming than working in the trades at that time. It’s probably not that friendly even today, but Martina and the rest of you at Wo-Built are trying to make a difference there.

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