MCSC Newsletter

January to February 2022

The Manitoba Status of Women Project

Women working in construction have been marginally represented at 4% in Manitoba. This coupled with the fact that Manitoba requires an additional 8,000 workers over the next 10 years to compensate for the number of retirements in the sector has led Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC), the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA) and the Manitoba Status of Women to partner on a project in remote Indigenous communities where large construction projects are underway. MCSC is delivering construction training in the 2021-2 program year to Indigenous women in Cross Lake, Pinaymootang, Dakota Tipi and York Landing/War Lakes. OAWA is providing support before, during training and after employment. Manitoba Status of Women is providing $604,000 in funding and is actively participating in the celebration of the project milestones.

The project began in Cross Lake in July 2021 where a hospital and housing projects are underway. 16 women were selected by the community to participate in job readiness and certified safety training. All 16 women graduated. 4 women went on to employment as construction labourers with Mid North Construction and the remaining 12 completed an 8-week blast hole drilling course. All 12 women were employed upon graduation and have been sought after by companies outside of the community due to the high demand in this trade.

Employers are quickly realizing women are an incredible asset to the construction sector. Women bring attention to detail, they follow directions, communicate effectively and they are easier on the construction equipment. Women tend to notice the small noises an engine makes before it becomes a bigger problem and they keep their equipment and tools clean and organized.

Cross Lake Job Readiness
Job Readiness at Cross Lake, Manitoba
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Blast Hole Drilling Program, Cross Lake First Nation, Manitoba
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Job Readiness, Pinaymootang First Nation, Manitoba

The women in the program bring to light the importance of this project. In their words, “ I am proud that I accomplished my goals. I will teach these skills to many others” …”the only thing you can control is yourself. Never compare yourself to others. I know I have the potential to succeed in anything I put my mind to”…”the more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them….I love being a part of this program. Being a mother of 2 teenage daughters, I hope to inspire them and show them that trades isn’t only for men but women also”…..”I can complete any tasks before me with confidence that nobody can take away”……”Changing the world one nail at a time.”

Job readiness instructor, Eline Anderson is the first Indigenous woman heavy equipment operator in Manitoba. Eline “liked the fact that the training is delivered in the communities. The participants are then able to be at home with their family (children, mothers, fathers, grandparents) and be involved with community life. Brent Good is MCSC’s blast hole drilling simulator instructor with 38 years in the heavy construction industry. Don Ayres, the certified blaster/driller instructor said he “was a little apprehensive of an all women class. They made him feel very confrontable. This class exceeded all expectations. They learned to laugh together, learned to work together, that allowed them to develop the confidence.”

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Framer Program, Pinaymootang First Nation, Manitoba

MCSC also completed job readiness, CSAM safety training and a framer course in Pinaymootang at the end of 2021. 11 women registered and 9 graduated. Framer instructor, Annette Head is the first Indigenous women journeyperson carpenter in Manitoba. Annette Head “really enjoyed teaching the women in the 12-week framer course and appreciated their willingness to learn and be productive in class and at the worksites.” Upon completion of the program, 4/9 women were employed by the community with the other 5 expected to be employed early in the new year.
In addition to construction training, young men and women attending 10 high schools/community programs from remote Indigenous communities have experienced career awareness using virtual reality technology. This technology allows MCSC to bring trades people to the community, brings career awareness and gives the community schools/organizations new technology/resources to teach career awareness. Another 10 schools/organizations are slated for 2022! According to First Nations Education Resource Centre (FNERC), over 70% of Indigenous youth have expressed interest in a career in trades. It is important Indigenous youth have the resources and a clear path to reach their career goals.

Indigenous Training in Remote Communities

MCSC completed the framer course with 5/10 participants in Fisher River despite being shut down twice due to Covid outbreaks. Sadly, one participant passed away as result of the pandemic.

Job readiness in York Landing was completed with 6/7 participants. The framer course followed on Nov 8th with a journeyperson carpenter from York Landing as the instructor and mentor. Completion date is scheduled for Feb 11th.

Job Readiness is scheduled to begin January 17th in Sagkeeng with Lorraine Desmarais. 

Fisher River Framer
Framer Program, Fisher River First Nation

Chainsaw Safety Awareness

With funding from Workers Compensation Board, Research Workplace and Innovation Program, the MCSC and Bit Space Development are creating a two-part chainsaw safety awareness resource. The purpose of this project is to take well-established safe-work practices of chainsaw use and put them in the hands of novice users. Part one includes 360-degree tours of worksites. Video shoots were held with Agriculture & Resource Development and SWS Training as part of the project. Part two will include an interactive virtual reality chain saw experience.

Mikwanokii Youth Training

The MCSC hosted five, two-week workshops with Mikwanokii youth.  Youth are introduced to Essential Skills and career opportunities in the construction industry from general labourer to skilled trades, management to owning a business. MCSC engages youth with the Trade Up Manitoba website. Youth watch Trade Talk videos and complete guiding questions, they play construction games and participate in virtual reality experiences to better prepare them for work. Safety at work is reinforced throughout the workshop. A hands-on carpentry practicum is included to teach youth how to use hand and power tools to build a bench. Workshop 6 begins January 5th

Newcomers Update!

Twelve newcomers are taking the MCSC’s New and Advanced Supervisor Programs to learn more about the workplace culture of construction in Canada. Four newcomers have completed the program. Graduates’ pictures are posted on MCSC’s social media platform; these posts receive a lot of attention from the community. MCSC also funded seven newcomers’ to attend safety training at the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba. Newcomers participated in SiteReadyMB program, an interactive, general orientation course designed specifically to prepare individuals who want to upgrade their skills or are preparing to enter or re-enter Manitoba’s construction industry.
MCSC mentors and supports newcomers’ entry to work and to post-secondary education. Six newcomers mentored by MCSC have found employment.

MCSC Presentation at Egg Lake Manitoba

MCSC partnered with Frontier School Division and Grey and Ivy in Egg Lake Manitoba. Nine students were introduced to the design build process. Upon completion, students designed and built a warming hut for the Forks. MCSC introduced students to the Essential Skills required for construction and provided career awareness using virtual reality to inspire youth to pursue their career goals.  

Manitoba Home Builders Association: Annual Housing Forum Event

The Manitoba Home Builders’ Association successfully hosted their annual Housing Forum event at the Victoria Inn. MCSC participated as a booth exhibitor to promote the sector council and share resources to over 100 attendees.

River East Transcona School Division Virtual Presentation

River East Transcona School Division reached out to the MCSC to share high demand career occupations in the construction industry. Residential, ICI and heavy construction were defined, resources were shared and pathways to careers were explored with 13 students and 2 instructors. Essential skills acquired at school, work or volunteering were reinforced as necessary assets for youth entering the construction industry.

Community & Youth Liaison

The first female high school football coach in Manitoba beginning her 1st year as head coach.

After one year’s absence, MCSC’s Community and Youth Liaison promoted trades in person to high school students across the province. Presentations included Glenlawn Collegiate, Portage Collegiate, Lord Selkirk Secondary School, Shaftesbury High School and McLeod Education Centre. The hour-long presentations help students examine trades to make informed decisions on their career paths. Common questions include:

• Where do I go for training?
• How much does it cost?
• What subjects should I take in school?
• What safety certification is required to work in construction and who offers it? Can I take safety courses while in school?

MCSC also introduces students, teachers, and counsellors to the interactive game-based learning tools on Trade Up Manitoba. Students visit the virtual worksite to learn the Essential Skills required on a construction site; the game, Trades Town tests players’ knowledge of the trades as they compete to take over the town! Players also learn important information about the trades including salary range, future outlook, and Apprenticeship requirements.

“Portage Collegiate greatly appreciated James Murphy’s visit. As a rep from the MCSC, James presented an engaging and interactive session for a number of our Grade 9 classes promoting careers in the skilled trades. We welcome his return.”
Blair Hordeski
Career Development Coordinator, Portage School Division

Upcoming for 2022!

MCSC will be working with industry partners to develop a concrete form training course. If you would like to be involved in the development or require more information, please let us know!

MCSC is delivering drone training specific to the needs of the construction industry in 2022! If this is something of interest, contact us for more information!

Retrain Manitoba still has over $7M available for employers who want to send new entrants or existing employees to training until March 31, 2022. Employers can submit receipts up tor $2,500 per employee!

Manitoba Women in Trades Conference is planned for November 16, 2022, at the Victoria Inn. Sponsorships, booths, and participant registrations are open. Sign up now for early bird discounts! Over 50 women presenters are confirmed!

MCSC is seeking Manitoba Women Leaders in Construction for a new profile booklet to be printed and distributed at the conference. If you or anyone you know wants to be included, please contact us!