Today is International Day of the Girl, a time to celebrate young women in skilled trades
When girls and young women put their minds to it, they can accomplish anything. That is exactly what high school student Gabrielle Caya did.
At 16, she already has valuable experience under her belt and is looking forward to kickstarting her career. Gabrielle, a Grade 11 student from Halifax West High School, attended a presentation this summer on the Building Futures for Youth summer program. The program helps young people safely explore careers in construction and she was immediately intrigued by what skilled trades could offer her.
After two weeks of training at NSCC, Gabrielle was placed with Bird Construction at the Queens Marque project along the Halifax waterfront, where she discovered her passion for carpentry and project management. She worked alongside the construction crew, cleaned up after a long day of work, and helped to build and update blueprints for the construction project.
“The Building Futures for Youth program gave me an amazing opportunity to work on my future and to get my foot in the door within the skilled trades field.”
Women may be under-represented in trades, but Gabrielle isn’t intimidated. She encourages girls interested in a career in skilled trades to believe in themselves. She says one small step forward is a step towards an overall goal, and women will be unstoppable, if they believe in themselves.
“I’ve always enjoyed building and creating new things. Putting these skills to use while working in construction was an amazing opportunity that I’m extremely grateful for.”
Many high school students wonder what to do after graduating, but not Gabrielle. She plans to get a carpentry diploma from NSCC, register as an apprentice to get her Red Seal, then pursue a business degree to begin a career in trades as a project manager.
The Building Futures for Youth program was developed by the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Nova Scotia Community College, Regional Centres for Education, and experts in the industry.
Since its pilot in 2008, it has helped more than 720 students get hands-on experience in construction. The program now includes all eight Nova Scotia Regional Centres for Education.