Girls answering the call

We mentioned elsewhere in this newspaper the big number of female high school graduates who plan to go into the trades. It was one outstanding feature of the Roland Michener School grad that had people raising eyebrows and saying (or thinking): ‘Isn’t that interesting!’

By trades, we mean electrical, carpentry, welding and so on. Those are practical choices; always have been, but traditionally, girls don’t go into them. There’s been a push to change that in recent years, as people in government, industry and education try to come to grips with the fact there just aren’t enough people in the trades, or going into the trades, to come anywhere near the demand. The uptake hasn’t been that great, from what we’ve seen, but suddenly – boom! – a whole lot of RMS grads are making that choice.

Good for them!

Some may have already made the move in that direction, and started their apprenticeships while still in high school. Thanks to the RAP program, that is an enticing possibility that formerly didn’t exist. With RAP, by the time you graduate, you can be well on your way to a solid career in a trade. The grad class of 2024 could just be a statistical anomaly; on the other hand, it could indicate a trend.

Eight per cent of people in trades in Alberta are women, according to one source. That’s more than the five per cent figure nationally (sources probably vary on this). There are obstacles, of course, but good for these girls for going for it.

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