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Calgary welding workshop introduces young women to skilled trades


With sparks flying and the sound of a hammer echoing throughout the large space, a group of more than a dozen young women were trying their hand at welding.

It's part of an effort by CAREERS, an Alberta non-profit group, to introduce more girls to the trades as they prepare for schooling and careers after high school.

"It's really important for young people to start trying out and exploring the skilled trades so they understand this is an option for them," said Nathalie McKean, a program coordinator with CAREERS.

The two-day workshop in Calgary brought together female-identifying young people in grades 9-12 to try construction and welding.

"We are trying, in Alberta, to reduce the skilled trade labour shortage that we have," said McKean.

According to the Occupation Outlook prepared by the Alberta Government, several industries could see labour shortages of up to 3,000 workers by 2030. Construction trades and engineering occupations related to construction are among the sectors expected to see worker shortages in the next decade.

"You really want to know what you want to do and it's fun to try different things, so you know what's out there," said Megan Robson, an 18-year-old taking part in the weekend's workshop.

"You never know if there's something out there that you didn't want to do, or do something that you didn't want to do... and then you just try it and you know," she said.

Rebecca Fremstad, another grade 12 student who tried welding on Saturday at the CAREERS program, said she's more drawn to the automotive sector, but she wants to make sure she knows what other possible careers are out there.

"I've been trying to keep the directions open because I know there's a lot of directions that I can go within the different trades," Fremstad said. Top Stories

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