180530, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 22
CCHS girls to attend trades & tech conference
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: website
Pass Herald Reporter
A group of 15 female students in grades 10 to 12 at Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS) have a unique opportunity to have a first-hand look at the success they can find in tech and trades careers ranging from computer animation to carpentry, video production to hairstyling, and sheet metal to plumbing at the Girls Exploring Trade and Technologies (GETT) Conference.

The group of girls will attend the conference at the Edmonton EXPO Centre on June 1 with cosmetology/food teacher Ms. Stacey Wright and career practitioner Ms. Alanna Whitaker.

"In my role as creative practitioner, I sit down with the students and we discuss what their interests are and where they see themselves going as their first step out of high school. I keep data on those discussions so I went through it and found a list of girls that showed interest with trades and technology," says Whitaker.

The conference is hosted by Skills Canada Alberta, a not-for-profit association that advocates for trade and technical careers for youth in Alberta by facilitating links between employers, educators, labour groups and the government.

"High School girls will talk with certified tradeswomen, apprentices, and technology experts who have pursued non-traditional careers. Their stories, experiences and knowledge will motivate students to open their minds to the diverse career paths available in today's most dynamic industries," indicates the Skills Canada Alberta website.
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The day will include presentations and round-table sessions with industry mentors, games and prizes, and hands-on activities where they can actually "try" a trade such as plumbing, welding, aesthetics, car painting and many more.

According to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), women are still under-represented in what are called the "STEM" careers - science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The 2017 Alberta Labour Force Profiles on women showed that only 7.1% of employees in trades, transport and equipment operations were women. In fact, that number hasn't changed much since 2007. In 2007, there were 27,500 women working in trades, transport and equipment operations. In 2017, there were 28,700, roughly a 4 percent increase.

According to Alberta’s Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook for 2015 to 2025, occupations in trades, transport, equipment operator sectors, and related occupations will experience a forecasted labour shortage in this timeframe. This includes fields like computer and information systems professionals, construction trades, electrical trades, plumbing and machine operating.

Whitaker says that exposing girls to the opportunities and benefits of pursuing an education and a career in trades and technology will show them options they might not have considered or even known about before.

"They don't know what to do when they're done high school, so they follow on traditional paths. I figured the more opportunities and paths I can expose them to, the more things are going to change," says Whitaker.

Many of the girls said they wanted to attend the conference to learn about the opportunities available to them.
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“I see GETT as a wonderful opportunity for girls like us at a young age to open our horizon and our option for the future,” says grade 10 student Maron Lim who will be attending the conference. “I hope to gain clearance on what I would like to do in the very near future and gain more knowledge about different forces that is possible for women.”

Meghan Tarcon, in grade 11, says that she hopes to gain “a lot of knowledge about different careers and trades that I don’t have a lot of knowledge about and meet new people.”

The school reached out to the community for support to allow for the group to attend the Edmonton conference. Several groups, companies and institutions donated towards the initiative, including The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, the Crowsnest Consolidated Academic and Athletic Society, Teck Resources and Mountainview Industries. Students also fundraised during the CCHS Movie Night that took place at the beginning of May.

"It has been a pleasure working with members in our community and we look forward to continuing these relationships," says Whitaker.

In total, $4,700 was raised to allow the group to attend.

Check back in a later issue to hear how the girls’ thoughts on the conference and what they learned.
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180530, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 22
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