GTA Construction Report staff writer
Some 60 members and guests attended the Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) annual holiday celebration Nov. 28 at the Holiday Inn in Toronto. The event combined a social evening and the opportunity to announce two important new partnerships.
CAWIC president and director Tammy Evans says CAWIC is supporting Canada Company, a charitable organization for the Canadian military. CAWIC members raised a $2,000 contribution through the evening’s silent auction.
Canada Company recently launched the Military Employment Transition Program to help military personnel exiting military service and transitioning to the civilian work force. “The financial support is just one aspect of our relationship,” says Evans. “We have gaps in the construction industry workforce and the military has personnel transitioning who don’t know where to start to move into civilian employment. We’ll get together to discuss the challenges of getting back into civilian life and what assistance and support these individuals need to secure careers in the construction industry.”
Evans says, although many soldiers already have transferrable skills, where new skills are required, CAWIC can help out with the transition through partnerships with educational institutions, private education partners and other training and employment organizations.
CAWIC also announced a new partnership with TDT Crews, “a new corporate member we’ll be working more actively with,” says Evans. “They source skilled tradespeople and then hire and set them up with employment and relocation across Canada. This connection will be good for students coming into the industry as well as for our existing and newly trained members.”
Throughout the year, CAWIC focuses on making connections. “At every CAWIC event I tell guests if they do nothing else that evening, they should try to make one new connection,” Evans said. “It’s through people meeting, connecting and exchanging information that real progress comes,” Evans says.
Though Evans says great strides have been made for women in construction, retention and upward movement are still challenging. “We’re looking at working more closely with the federal and provincial ministries and organizations to make sure we’re not just talking the talk,” she said. “We need to continue to build awareness of the successes women can bring to the field and then ensure there are incentives and programs in place to encourage their entry, support women to remain in the industry, and help them progress in their chosen field.”
“Technology, education and human rights have caught up so women can take equal roles in the construction industry but federal and provincial ministries and unions leaders need a better understanding of the on the ground issues and we need less talk and more action,” says Evans, adding that Ontario lags behind other provinces like the Maritimes and Saskatchewan in women’s acceptance, development and progress within the industry.
Evans says CAWIC is always looking for new corporate sponsors and volunteers. The association has more than 185 members including corporations, individuals, students and affiliates.
For more information, visit www.cawic.ca.