Men advocating for women in construction

(Pictured above from left: John Bockstael, Carol Paul and other Canadian Apprenticeship panelists) 

(Pictured above from left: John Bockstael, Carol Paul and other Canadian Apprenticeship Forum panelists) 

Some important and meaningful messages came out the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Supporting Women in Trades Conference June 10 – 12, 2023 at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, including the importance of men advocating for women in construction.

Engaging Men in Workplace Culture Change was a panel discussion I was proud to participate in representing the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC). Every two years, MCSC hosts the Manitoba Women In Trades (MWIT) conference, and while the conference focuses on empowering women, we engage with male leaders and stakeholders who share our common goal of getting more women building careers in construction. John Bockstael, CEO of Bockstael Construction has been an ally of supporting women in construction, from entry level to senior level positions.

While we don’t have all the answers, as John shared during his participation in the panel discussion, what matters most is having male leaders in the construction industry actively participating in finding solutions and breaking barriers. At the 2020 MWIT conference, as a result of John’s engagement, he recommended the development of an employer workshop to support the recruitment and retention of women that was piloted in January 2023. As a result of that pilot program, MCSC worked with employers to help with their recruitment and retention strategies to support women in construction.

As part of John’s advocacy, it created another path for us to take a next step forward in our recruitment and retention strategy. Recently receiving funding from the Manitoba Status of Women, MCSC will develop a retention strategy that will provide a needs analysis and a four-year program that focuses on the recruitment of women into great careers in construction and gives them the support to advance.

MCSC is extremely grateful for the many male leaders in construction, like John Bockstael, who want to work collaboratively to find solutions to our labour shortages in construction, engaging with women to guide us on our path forward.

Carol Paul
MCSC Executive Director

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