Okanagan College hosts open house for Women in Trades program

Providing information for women in the Shuswap on trades careers

Frances Sadowick began her exploration of the trades through Okanagan College’s 12-week Women in Trades Training (WITT) program, proceeding to enroll in the Plumbing and Piping Trades Foundation program afterwards. She says the skills and confidence passed on to her through the WITT program were instrumental in allowing her to secure a career in the trades. (Image provided by Okanagan College.)

Okanagan College Women in Trades Training (WITT) program is hosting a free public open house Feb. 28 from 5-6 p.m. at the College’s Salmon Arm Trades Centre, located at 5450- 48th Avenue in the Salmon Arm Industrial Park.

Participants will have the opportunity to tour the shop, chat with program advisors and trades instructors and get details about the upcoming Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program which starts in Salmon Arm Apr. 9.

The WITT program is an effort to encourage women to seek employment in the trades, as well as providing information and support regarding the proper education paths, apprenticeship placement and skills training related to specific trades. The 12-week program gives prospective tradeswomen the chance to gain practical and classroom experience in the trades, receive knowledge about the trade best suited to their skills and learn how to secure employment or apprenticeship.

A portion of the program is also dedicated to acquiring certification in things like first aid, which is necessary in many work environments.

An opportunity to test-drive a job in the trades put Frances Sadowick on the path to a career she loves and helped her build the confidence to pursue it. The Feb. 28 open house event invites women to follow in Sadowick’s footsteps and learn about opportunities to train for a future in the building trades.

Sadowick was selected and sponsored by Okanagan College WITT in September 2016 to participate in the Gateway program in Salmon Arm. She credits the program and her instructors with helping her build the confidence to continue on with her training.

“I was not feeling confident in myself and was hesitant about using the tools but my instructor would notice I was nervous and would make me feel better about trying it,” explains Sadowick.

While in the Gateway program, she had an opportunity to observe Plumbing and Piping students and learn about the trade. It was a moment that sparked an interest in plumbing that would prove to be life-changing.

The experience has paid off for Sadowick. She is now applying her skilled trades training in the industry, working full time in Penticton for RPR Heating and Air Conditioning threading gas pipe on a commercial project.

“I’ve found my confidence in the workplace and am excited for my future working towards a Red Seal ticket,” she explains. “I’m creating a brighter future for myself and my son.”

More information about the upcoming Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program in Salmon Arm, which begins Apr. 9, is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/wtti.

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