NAIT hosts nearly 100 high school students for a day of skilled trades exploration

Published on November 24, 2022

NAIT welcomed nearly 100 female high school students to Main Campus on Thursday, Nov. 24 for a day of exploring the potential of careers in the skilled trades. 

Jill of All Trades is an annual event that began in 2014 at Conestoga College in Ontario. Conestoga recently received support from national sponsors Owens Corning and Home Depot to bring it to a variety of post-secondary institutes across Canada and NAIT is pleased to be part of the first group. 

Young women in grades 10 to 12 from Edmonton and Northern Alberta attended NAIT’s inaugural event. Attendees participated in up to 3 hands-on workshops to experience trades of interest. The workshops also connected the high school students with mentors—many of whom are female—who helped the students develop a better understanding of the benefits of a career in the skilled trades. Mentors included NAIT staff, alumni and members of industry. 

The day kicked off with several guest speakers before the students broke out into the workshops offered by NAIT’s School of Skilled Trades. Workshops included Plumber, Electrician, Welder, Millwork (Cabinetmaking) and Carpentry, Heavy Equipment Technician, Auto Body Technician, Machinist/Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technician, Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning Refrigeration (HVACR) Technician, Ironworker, Carpenter, Insulator and Glazier.  

A recent report by RBC indicates more than 700,000 skilled trade workers are set to retire, creating a shortfall of at least 10,000 workers. The report goes on to say that women continue to represent less than four percent of workers in the most in-demand trades. Jill of All Trades aims to help decrease the skilled trades shortfall by encouraging more women to pursue careers in the trades. 

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“Today is about exposing young women to jobs in the skilled trades so they can consider a rewarding career in this field. Women bring new perspectives, new ideas and new ways of doing things to any work environment and bring much value to the skilled trades. We hope that participants use today to find something that sparks their passion as they take their potential first steps in their career journeys.”  - Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT President & CEO 

“Trades is not one of the top-of-mind choices for young women. There hasn’t been a lot of encouragement over the years and sometimes there is the perception that it’s not necessarily for women – which is absolutely not true. It’s for everyone who has an interest in working with their hands, in being creative, in creative problem solving. I hope after today’s Jill of All Trades event, there’s a bigger awareness of what their potential careers in the skilled trades could be.” - Laurel Tokuda, event organizer, NAIT Electrical Installations Department Head 

“Jill of All Trades not only shows these young women that, yes, they can do the trades and be an active tradesperson, but it shows them that they can pursue a career that allows them to have financial independence. Speaking to the mentors at the event today has shown the students that this is a possibility for them, and I think that is just so special and so important for these young women's futures.” - Amy Sanders, McNally High School off-campus coordinator 

“I was really intrigued by the various career pathways the Jill of All Trades offered as I hope to take the RAP [Registered Apprenticeship Program] program but didn’t know which trade to explore. I’ve really enjoyed the workshops, especially the Auto Body Technician and Heavy Duty Mechanic sessions. I’ve also appreciated speaking to the female mentors who all have shared how they entered the trades and the success they’ve had in their careers. It’s been a great day.” - Ryley Jonker, Boyle High School student (grade 10)  

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With over 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

Media inquiries

Nicole Graham
NAIT Media Relations
C 780.916.8307 E

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