NSCC course opens the door to diverse women for a career in trades

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is giving diverse women a unique opportunity to train for a potential career in trades and technology.

Women Unlimited is a free 14-week pathway program that empowers women to explore a range of trades and technology programs, pursue post-secondary education and obtain careers in a traditionally male-dominated field.

“We don’t see a lot of women in trades and technology,” says Vivian Dixon, the program director for the college’s Women Unlimited program. “Sadly, only about five per cent of women are employed with the trades and technology.”

Designed to address skilled labour shortages in Nova Scotia while assisting women from underrepresented backgrounds to achieve economic stability, the Women Unlimited program has been incredibly successful since it launched in 2006.

“It has always been free (and) it remains free for any woman who wants to attend,” says Dixon, who has been involved with Women Unlimited for at least 15 years. “Over a thousand women have gone through the program, we have had about over 900 graduate from the program and gone on into the core training programs.”

She admits the Women Unlimited program is a “bridging” program that allows up to 60 women every season to explore opportunities using hands-on experience, networking, personal development, research and more.

“By the end of the 14 weeks,” continues Dixon. “You’ll make a real informed decision about what career path you want to take.”

According to a graduate of the program, it was key to her landing a career as a Red Seal welder at Halifax Shipyard with Irving Shipbuilding.

By going through Women Unlimited, Krista Langille tapped into skills she didn’t realize she possessed and discovered a world in the trades through shop visits in the program.

“The minute I went into a welding shop and started welding I knew it was my passion,” the single mother of two explains on the NSCC website. “Being the first woman to come through Women Unlimited as a Red Seal welder, that’s absolutely the proudest moment of my whole life.”

To Dixon, the program isn’t just a chance to open doors for women, it is an opportunity to make an impact on many women’s lives.

“It is really about changing systems and not changing the women,” says Dixon. “Seeing the impacts that it makes on the women who succeed in their trade of choice and as a career – it makes me very happy and proud.”

The free 14-week Women Unlimited program begins in January and applications are now being accepted. For more information, visit the NSCC website.

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