Women in Trades Training

Two female Carpentry students cutting wood on chopsaw

Okanagan College is among B.C.’s largest trades training institutions and has a reputation for excellence. The Industry Training Authority acknowledges the need for more female apprentices in the Province of BC.  Through funding provided by the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement, Okanagan College is able to provide sponsorship for trades training to eligible and selected women who are interested in a career in the trades.

Training opportunities

Gateway to the Building Trades for Women

This all-female, 12-week exploratory program introduces women to a variety of trades, safety training, job readiness skills and professional development through a combination of in-class and in-shop experiences. By actively participating in exploring many different trades, women gain the confidence to pursue their career goals in trades. Trades that participants will experience include: Carpentry, Joinery, Plumbing, Electrical and more. Program times: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Times may vary based on shop time, online study and self-study needs. 

Next intakes:

  • Kelowna: Jan 5, 2023
  • Salmon Arm: Apr 3, 2023
  • Kelowna: Jun 5, 2023

Apply to Gateway program

Three Women in Trades students working in the shop

All Gateway to the Building Trades for Women participants must meet the following requirements to be eligible: 

  • legally entitled to work in Canada 
  • living in BC 
  • not enrolled in high school or in post-secondary training 
  • not actively participating in another provincially or federally funded labour market program 
  • unemployed or employed and working equal to, or less than 20 hours per week 
  • complete Women In Trades Training application process 

Gateway program applications start with a completed Participant Eligibility Worksheet. This document can be emailed directly to witt@okanagan.bc.ca or delivered in person to the Women in Trades Training office located in the Trades and Apprenticeship Office T115, Kelowna campus. 

SISTERS' program

Women in Trades has partnered with the Okanagan Training and Development Council (OTDC) to bring the SISTERS program to Okanagan College.  This is a 30-week Indigenous program for women that introduces participants to all aspects of the carpentry trade including the use of hand tools and other equipment used by carpenters.  Upon successful completion, graduates of this program will receive technical training credits Level 1 and work hours towards their apprenticeship. 

Explore the SISTERS' program

Three Women in Trades students working in the shop

Step into Steel-toes for Women

Learn valuable skills for home use or to prepare for a career in trades. Trades that participate are: Carpentry,  Automotive, Plumbing and Electrical.

Schedule

October 17 2023
6 weeks (week 1 online)
Tuesday and Thursday 6 - 8 p.m.
Saturday or Sunday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Kelowna Campus

Register for Step into Steel-toes

Female students working in the Carpentry shop
  • Get hands-on experience with tools and materials from four Red Seal endorsed trades 
  • Receive shop safety training 
  • Work full time while learning new skills 
  • Build confidence in a comfortable all-female cohort 
  • You could be working in the trades in as little as six weeks 

$1,595.00 + GST (materials included). 
Participants must supply their own PPE including steel-toe boots.

Have questions? Email witt@okanagan.bc.ca.

Trades Training Foundation

In as little as five months, foundation training prepares students to enter the labour market with credit for Level 1 technical training in their chosen trade. Students entering trades foundation training must have accepted a seat offer in the program of their choice and have paid their seat deposit prior to starting an application for sponsorship with Women in Trades Training. To learn more about applying for sponsorship, contact Women in Trades Training at witt@okanagan.bc.ca.

Search for Trades programs

Women in Trades student working in a shop

Youth Programs

In the spring and summer, girls ages 9-12 have an opportunity to explore trades. Youth programs are one-week in length and focus on fostering a passion for trades while developing new skills. 

Check out Camp OC offerings

Have questions?

The Women in Trades Training Department is here to help. Call 1-877-755-2266, ext. 4825 toll-free or submit your questions below.

Funding for the Women in Trades Training programs is provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.

Experience

Join an info session or become a student for a day. 

Ask

Have your questions answered by a Trades and Apprenticeship staff member.

Apply

Applying to the Women in Trades Training program involves completing a participant worksheet.