News and Events

Course builds confidence for women and diversifies trades industry

Woman Working At Electrical Box
March 22, 2022

In collaboration with the YMCA Employment Centre, Medicine Hat College (MHC) is providing hands-on learning and skill building in a course specifically designed for women and non-binary individuals interested in the trades.

As a woman in the electrical trade, program instructor and coordinator Amanda Hennessey understands the importance of having an introduction to the trades course, specifically for women and non-binary individuals.

“The first trade job I tried applying for was as an appliance repair technician, but I was told, very bluntly by the business owner, that I could not do it because I was a girl,” says Hennessey. “After sharing my plight with a neighbour, they connected me with an opportunity to apprentice as an electrician. Twenty years later, it is still the best decision I have ever made. The self-confidence, skills, level of self-sufficiency, monetary benefit, and job satisfaction that has resulted from a career in the trades is invaluable.”

By offering a class specifically for women and non-binary individuals, Hennessey’s students have also found success. While they admit to feeling intimidated at first, this course has given them the self-confidence needed to pursue an apprenticeship or enter the industry in another role.

The lack of women in the industry has very little to do with ability, adds Hennessey, but rather a lack of information, representation and opportunity.

“I have loved instructing in the Women in Trades program and see it as a way to help boost all three areas. I am also very passionate about programs that introduce kids to the trades, as well as programs that help employers and managers recognize biases, evolve and embrace diversified teams.”

The 16-week full-time program, launched on Jan. 17, 2022, provides 18 hours of training in each of the welding, plumbing, electrical and carpentry trades. Additionally, students are trained in resume writing, workplace skills and educated in math and science to help prepare them to find employment and meet the Apprenticeship & Industry Training (AIT) entrance requirements.

The course will continue to run until May 6, 2022.