Yukon University is planning a free welding class for women and non-binary people
Yukon University is offering a free sweat program aimed at women and non-binary people as part of a national effort to encourage underrepresented groups to enter the profession.
The course will be offered this spring in partnership with Yukon Women in Trades and Technology (YWITT). Successful applicants are paid for their tuition and also receive help with other fees such as rent and childcare.
Liz Peredun, executive director of YWITT, said the expense support allows students to focus and focus energy on the work itself.
“Creating spaces of belonging helps to exploit potential and competencies,” she said. “Students can really focus on the benefits that can come from well-paying skilled labor without going into a deficit in caring responsibilities or living expenses.”
Increase in programs for women
It is not the first time that such a program has been offered in the region.
Jeff Wolosewich, head of Yukon University’s Department of Trades and Technology, said the university has begun offering similar courses in recent years, including a preparatory course in carpentry and a two-week welding course.
That comes after YWITT released a 2019 report titled Making it Work, which showed women in crafts wanted more mentoring and training programs tailored to them.
“We thought we should just do more programs that are aimed at women,” Wolosewich said. “To make sure we’re running programs that they feel more secure about, that they know they can feel included in.”
While the university runs the course and training, YWITT will manage the all round support.
“It’s especially good for the students because they have a different connection with a different set of supporters and a whole new network of people, artisans, who are there to make sure they can succeed in their careers,” Wolosewich said .
The program is one of several offered by a national non-profit organization, the CWB Welding Foundation, which supports similar programs across the country.
Mary Fuke, the organization’s program manager, says courses like the one offered in the Yukon are great starting points for people wanting to get into the trade.
“They might not go into welding, but they go into a related career where they can actually use those skills,” Fuke said. “So maybe a boilermaker or an iron worker. We want to make sure they have the skills they need to thrive and find a career they can actually stay in and be happy in. “
Since pre-training programs like this have been offered in the area, Peredun said she has seen more women enroll in training programs. The next step will be for people to stay in their jobs after their training.
“More and more employers and business owners are talking about seeking resources to change their workplace culture,” Peredun said. “We see movement as part of a larger picture.”
Applications for the program are currently being accepted. Interested students must attend an information session prior to applying, with several planned for March. The course starts in May.