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About The Women in Skilled Trades and Information Technology Program

Archived Backgrounder

About The Women in Skilled Trades and Information Technology Program

Ministry of the Status of Women

The Women in Skilled Trades and Information Technology (WIST/ IT) Training program helps low-income women learn new skills, change careers and secure better paying jobs. Over the next two years, about 350 women will be trained to get jobs in information technology and skilled trades.

Seven programs, including one for Francophone women and two for Aboriginal women are being offered in eight locations across Ontario.

WIST/IT Training Program

The program provides training for women in communities where skilled trades and IT workers are needed. It offers in-class and on-the-job training to women with low incomes who are unemployed or underemployed and helps them prepare for jobs. Training can take up to one year to complete.

Information Technology Training
The Information Technology stream helps women get certification, jobs and further training in the IT sector. It offers training in-class and on the job, and includes workplace preparation. As a result of this initiative, women are better prepared for higher paying employment in the information technology sector, and employers are able to choose from more skilled candidates. IT training includes:

  • Business Analysis
  • Applications Development
  • Network Administration
  • Quality Assurance and Software Testing
  • Web Development
  • Technical Support

Skilled Trades Training
The Skilled Trades stream offers pre-apprenticeship training in-class and on the job for specific trades. It includes workplace preparation to help women gain employment in a predominately male work environment. Following graduation, women are qualified to enter a variety of highly skilled and high-demand skilled trade jobs and apprenticeships. Skilled trades training includes:
  • Carpentry
  • Horticulture

Following training, women will register as apprentices or may go on to work in their fields.

Opportunities for Women in the Skilled Trades

Women enrol in the WIST/IT Training program as it provides opportunity not only to obtain certification for the Ontario job market but also learn résumé building and interview skills. Some women who participate in the program are newcomers with international experience; some are building new lives after experiencing domestic violence, while others are changing careers to obtain better paying jobs.

  • Approximately 80 per cent of women who have graduated from the WIST/IT program find employment, or pursue further training or apprenticeships within six months of graduating.
  • Women's participation in apprenticeship training is on the rise with women representing 19 per cent of apprentices in Ontario. Yet women remain under-represented in apprenticeship trades that have been traditionally male-dominated, such as carpentry, horticulture, plumbing and welding.
  • In 2010, women made up only 2.5 per cent of registered apprentices in the construction and industrial trades in Ontario and women continue to be under-represented in the skilled trades overall.