VIU Hosts Women in Trades Event to Encourage More Women to Consider Trades Careers

Carla Smith, president of CMF Construction Ltd., is participating in the Women in Trades event happening at VIU on October 19.

October 13, 2016 - 2:45pm

October 19 event is a partnership between industry, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools and VIU

Carla Smith has worked in the construction industry for the past 20 years and not regretted a minute of it.

Smith, who is president of CMF Construction Ltd., a general contractor, loves the complexity of the jobs her company works on – not only are they creating something new and useful, but they’re also solving problems as they go, so when the job is done, she really feels like she’s accomplished something.

“I like the variety of what we do as a business – it’s never the same thing every month,” says Smith, who is also chair of the Nanaimo Women in Construction (WiC) network. Women in Construction is a grassroots initiative started by members of the Vancouver Island Construction Association to support women in the construction trades and industry.

WiC is partnering with Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to host an event aimed at encouraging more women to enter the trades next week.

Women in Trades takes place on Wednesday, October 19, from 4:30 – 7 pm. The open house-style event, which starts in Building 110 on VIU’s Nanaimo campus, will allow participants to hear women working in the trades talk about their jobs, talk to female trades students in VIU’s programs, take part in some hands-on activities and learn more in general about careers in the trades.

The Women in Trades open house will take participants on a tour through a number of programs on offer at VIU, including carpentry, electrical, welding, automotive service technician, heavy equipment operator, and motorcycle and marine technician. People will be able to talk to instructors and women in those trades, and participate in some hands-on activities to help them decide whether they want to try out a trades program.

“We want to really highlight the career opportunities for women in trades,” says Glynis Steen, Dean of the Faculty of Trades and Applied Technology at VIU. “The percentage of women in our trades programs is low, and we want to attract more. One good way to attract more women to trades programs is to introduce them to women who are already pursuing successful trades careers.”

Derek Beeston, Principal of Career Pathways with Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, says the school district is excited to be a partner of this event. “It is far overdue for women to be actively sought out for careers in the trades,” he says. “The opportunities are endless.”

Smith says members of the Nanaimo Women in Construction network will be set up in various trades buildings to talk to women about their own experiences working in the trades.

“Our goal is to give back to the community and encourage more women to enter the construction industry,” she says. “What we’re trying to do is show people that you can have a good-paying, rewarding job in the construction industry.”

Courtesy parking for the Women in Trades event is available in Parking Lot U at the corner of Wakesiah Avenue and Fourth Street. For more information, call 250.740.6227.



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250-740-6288 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: In the Community