Women in Work Boots

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

There’s a new gal in town with a Backer Board and a mission.

She knows that if you were to ask a group of high school girls what they know about the variety of work in the trades, it’s pretty likely their knowledge on the subject would be slim. The industry continues to battle an image problem, especially with women who last year represented only 4% of those working in the construction trades. Yet for those women with successful careers in the industry, they are quick to point out many advantages: their ability to advance in the profession, continual learning, and gratifying, tangible, and independent work.

The Canadian government is working to create greater economic opportunities for women in many sectors, including non-traditional occupations, especially given current and looming shortages. They admit however, that there is a serious lack of knowledge about hands-on professions, which contributes to the problem. Post secondary institutions are working hard to improve and change the situation, along with business, government, and industry groups. But more inspiration is needed.

Here’s where Calgary’s Jill Drader comes in. An educator at SAIT, Tile Setter, and consultant associated with the skilled trades since 2007, Jill recently created the Women In Work Boots site. By sharing stories of local women working in a wide variety of trades, her mission is to inspire more to make career changes, own and run a related business, or explore the industry as a viable option after high school. And stories are important. Subtle changes in the way women talk about their roles in construction and how they got started in the industry will go a long way in bringing more women to it, according to Debbie Wadsworth, female construction leader and former president of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction in a recent interview. "Sometimes the things that count are really subtle, like what you do, how you got there, or talking about how much money you make.”

Featuring links to education, industry resources and apprenticeship guidance, Jill’s site is an excellent supplement to provincial initiatives such as Tradesecrets. But I was curious about mentorship opportunities, and asked Jill for her opinion and to share where this whole journey is taking her:

Jill, let's talk about mentorship opportunities. Do they exist in Calgary, and how important are they?

Mentorship is a critical part of passing on relevant information to women thinking of entering the industry. I've found career fairs sometimes have female mentors working the booths for various companies as recruiters, or as union members. I've also seen third part organizations create interactive career fairs and use round table discussions featuring mentors to deliver and share information.Unfortunately, there are so few women in the skilled trades that to take a percentage of those and make them visible mentors would prove challenging. This speaks to why I started the website: one, to use stories as a means of mentoring, and second to use the advice offered in the stories as a means of coaching women by using a web platform of storytelling.

What kind of feedback have you had to the site?

It’s been incredible. I've had emails from across Canada and USA, and even the UK and Australia, from women who found and follow the site. I've had the provincial government and oil and gas companies ask me to do events, public speaking, and conventions speaking about the the project. I've had representatives of the government call me to thank me for Women in Work Boots, and my MLA office is helping me. I have men emailing me and asking for advice. And most important, the women whose stories I featured and shared have told me they cried because they were so proud to read their journey and the way I told it. It brought to light that their work is meaningful, important, and a source of pride, which was my goal.

What is next on the horizon for you?

Taking this information to national and international audiences. Currently, I'm in Toronto waiting for a meeting with a national TV network that found me and invited me for an audition/interview of a show they want to pitch to me. This proves my previous point, that this movement was created to spread organically and wholeheartedly through storytelling and word of mouth.

This fall, I will be launching a digital magazine version of the website. I'm also writing a few chapters for a U.S. Women's Study program that asked me to contribute to their course, Women Work and the Web. And it turns out that I found a missing link to women in the trades: business education, and how it will enable men and women to run a great enterprise. With an industry in such high demand, I find that those hard at work often don't have any extra time to study, explore and learn more. To address this, I've created an online course to launch this September where they can purchase, download, and learn business trade fundamentals at their own pace, with access to me and my team for questions and follow up.

Oh, and raising my 1 and 3 year old sons is the first priority!

Accelerate Your Career—Saturday, April 20th

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Back...and better than ever

Accelerate Your Career 2013

A full day of career programs at the Central Library



Location and Registration

Career Conversations
Meet one-on-one with twenty professionals from high-demand industries to learn more about their careers

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Sign up during event
First-come, first-served

Resume Help
Register for a 30-minute session with a career professional to review your resume

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Preregister by calling 403-260-2782. Drop-ins may be accommodated

Career Serving Agencies
Come talk to staff from BVC Career Connection, Alberta Human Services, Directions for Immigrants in the Trades and Professions, and Bredin

10:30 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor

Moving Forward with Mentorship
Discover the merits of mentorship along with local mentorship opportunities. Hosts: Calgary’s Corporate Readiness Training Program and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better
Learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help you understand you own and others personality types in order to be happier at work. Presented by Calgary Career Counselling

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Lower level Meeting Room 1

Phone and Skype Based Interviews: Master Techniques
Learn insider tips for acing your telephone or web based interview from Calgary recruiter Sabina Souliere

12:30–2:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

How To Shine at Work
Learn how to build confidence and workplace connections . Presented by Bow Valley College Career Connection and Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers

2:30–4:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Ed2go Launch: Overview of new educational resource for Calgary Public Library cardholders. Learn how to access 300 free online courses for professional and personal educational development

10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Third Floor Learning Lab: drop in

Register by calling: 403-260-2620 or online at calgarypubliclibrary.com

Mentorship: Worth the Effort

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Calgary career development professional Brian Lambier of Career Vitality Services Inc. answers our questions about mentorship, its importance and mentorship opportunities.

Come join us on Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library for Brian's program: Mentorship: Outside the Box. Brian Lambier of Career Vitality Services

1. Job searchers need to be aware that while mentors can help develop your career, their role is not to find you a job. In your experience, what are the most useful skills that mentors can help develop?

People believe that they have to be connected to an organization first to take advantage of a mentorship relationship. I believe that the individual must first truly understand who they are before they explore mentorship. What I mean by this is that it is important they have a clear understanding of their values, skills, abilities, interests and career desires. From that they need to be able to set a career direction and some concrete goals with a series of baby steps to reach those goals. This is where the career development professional comes in; it is their job to help people gain a broader understanding of their own individual footprint or foundation.

Mentoring is the process in which successful individuals (mentor) will help others establish goals and develop the skills to reach their goals.

Mentoring can help you acquire skills, increase confidence, widen your perspective, avoid errors, enhance your career and life, and help you succeed.

The type of skills that the mentor can help develop really depends on the type of mentorship relationship that exists between the mentor and mentee;

  • A Developmental mentorship relationship will see the mentor be able to offer the mentee develop new skills and abilities. The mentor acts as a guide and a resource for the mentee's growth.
  • A Sponsorship mentorship relationship occurs when mentor takes a close interest in the progress of the mentee and they influence others to support the mentees career advancement through providing them with opportunities. They in essence become a cheerleader and what I call the “doorman” opening doors of opportunities for the mentee.

2. Why do you think few Calgarians take advantage of mentoring opportunities?

This is a good question. I believe that many people take advantage of these opportunities. Immigrants and youth in particular have many opportunities to access these programs and do so through any number of social service organizations in the city. There are also many people in the corporate world that access programs through their organizations, professional organizations or institutions of higher learning.

I would agree that there are many people don’t take advantage of mentoring opportunities. I believe this is for many of the same reasons people do not engage the services of a career coach:

  • Many people don’t really understand the value of what a mentor can provide to them both personally and professionally
  • Many people have not done the work to have a clear understanding of who they are and where they want to go so they are not motivated to ask for help
  • Many people don’t set personal or career goals
  • Many people do not truly understand the goals of the organization where they work, how their role fits into the company goals and the internal avenues they can access to develop a plan to meet their goals
  • Organizations may not have a commitment to sustain and grow their employees
  • Middle managers that are supervising employees may not have the skills or been given the latitude of responsibility to identify individuals within the organization to participate in such programs.
  • Mentoring opportunities are not always apparent unless you network connect, explore and dig for opportunities
  • Many individual’s hesitancy to make the commitment to the mentorship relationship and process
  • An individual’s fear of change or their feeling that they cannot change
  • Many people think they can do it themselves.

3. Are there programs in Calgary for those interested in mentoring opportunities? (We often have immigrant clients who are interested in doing so.)

The following is a list of some of the programs offered in Calgary by a variety of different organizations in the Calgary area. (This is certainly not an exhaustive list.)

  • U of C Graduate Students Association—the Career and Mentorship Program
    Helps graduate students attain their desired career goal—whether it's re-entering industry after graduation (as 70 per cent of grad students do) or continuing with academe. This program is free, and helps grad students make professional contacts by pairing students with a mentor in their field of interest.
  • Bow Valley College Mentoring Internationally Trained Professional
    A bridging program to fast track foreign-trained professionals into the Canadian workplace. United Way and Bow Valley College have entered into a partnership to offer a mentoring program for internationally educated professionals through the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC). Internationally Educated professionals face a variety of obstacles when arriving in Canada. The information and guidance they receive can be critical to making decisions related to their career and skill development and finding meaningful employment. The goal of the mentoring program is to connect immigrant professionals with working professionals in a mentoring partnership.
  • Calgary Youth Mentoring Coalition
    Fifteen different Youth Serving organizations offering a variety of mentorship programs and services to youth through their individual organizations.
  • CIPS Alberta MentorNet
    Has partnered with MentorNet to bring an e-mentoring program to the membership, promoting mentorship relationships between college students (protégés) and IT professionals (mentors). Protégés gain invaluable career advice, encouragement and support, while professionals lend their expertise by helping to educate and inspire young professionals. Students are asked to fill out a profile specifying what they are looking for in a mentor, and then are matched in one-on-one email relationships with industry mentors who have relevant experience in the IT field. This one-on-one relationship takes approximately 15 minutes per week and is free to both the protégé and the mentor. The official e-mentoring relationship lasts approximately eight months.
  • Immigrant Services Calgary Integrated Women’s Mentorship Program
    The Integrated Women’s Mentorship Program links established professional women with new immigrant and refugee women to assist them in overcoming barriers to employment and help them realize their full potential in Canada as individuals and professionals. The program serves immigrant and refugee women who have the ability to effectively communicate in English but are experiencing difficulties looking for a professional job in Canada
  • The Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI-SAC)
    Offers the Mentorship program to its membership each year. There are two intakes per-year: Fall (September) and Winter (January). This program is designed to provide you with guidance and advice on moving your career to the next level.
  • The Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC)
    In partnership with Calgary employers and CRIEC community partners, has recently embarked on an initiative to bring skilled immigrants and established professionals together in occupation-specific mentoring relations. The goal of the program is to help build inclusive workplaces and strengthen the ability of Calgary organizations to attract and retain talent.
  • University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business Mentoring Program
    This business school along with business partners in the community offers its students several mentoring programs including the Calgary Hotel Association Mentorship Program, the Enbridge Incorporated Undergraduate Mentorship Program, the MBA Mentorship Program and the Petroleum Land Management Mentorship Program. Each of these programs pairs students with experienced business personnel from the world of industry in the Calgary region.
  • The First Calgary Financial Mentorship Program with Theatre Junction
    Brings students together with mentors from Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists including actors, directors, technicians and designers for a unique look at what happens backstage. As part of the First Calgary Financial Mentorship Program, students have the opportunity to learn about creating their own original performance through an intensive workshop series, invitations to private rehearsals and backstage tours. Mentoring relationships will develop throughout the year and students will have a chance to speak one-on-one with Company artists and Theatre Junction staff about their profession.
  • Cybermentor
    An online mentoring program that matches girls aged 11 to 18 with professional women scientists and engineers or female students at Alberta universities who are studying science and engineering. The primary goal of the Cybermentor program is to expand girls’ knowledge of careers, opportunities and benefits that exist for women in science and engineering fields. The girls have the opportunity to communicate with mentors from diverse fields, expanding their options for potential career paths in the process. The second goal is to provide a motivation for girls to continue in their math and science studies through interaction with women role models who are studying and practicing in these fields.
  • Lilith Law Mentoring Program
    A one-on-one mentoring program designed to provide mentoring relationships between women lawyers and judges, and develop, retain and advance women lawyers through reciprocal learning, relationship building, and personal and professional development.
  • Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) Mentoring Young Entrepreneurs Program
    We know that young people have great business ideas and can benefit from a bit of help to make them a reality. In addition to our community partners, entrepreneur-in-residence and Online Business Resource Centre, CYBF provides mentoring from experienced business professionals to help set you apart from the competition while launching and growing your business.

Brian Lambier is the owner of Career Vitality Services Inc. in Calgary, Alberta and specializes in career and retirement transition coaching and corporate training. He can be reached at (403) 978-9134 or brian@careervitality.ca/. Brian has two upcoming programs at the Central Library: Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library for Brian's program: Mentorship: Outside the Box (Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00, Third Floor Central) and Champions of Learning 2012: the New Retirement (Saturday, March 24)

Thanks to the Centre for Newcomers for reminding us about other Calgary mentorship opportunity: The Peer Mentorship Program for Professionals at the Centre for Newcomers Application Deadline: Wednesday February 29th, 2012 Training for selected mentors: Saturday March 3rd, 2012 (10:00 am to 12:00 pm) Orientation and group matching for mentors and mentees: March 10th, 2012 (10:00 am to 1:00 pm) To apply: please contact Camilo at 403-569-3349 or c.torres@centrefornewcomers.ca This program is a partnership betwwen the Centre for Newcomers, the Association of Colombian-Canadian Professionals of alberta (ACCPA), the Chinese Professionals Entrepreneurs Association of Calgary (CPEAC), and the Nigerian Canadian Association of Calgary (NCAC) and started activities in September 2010.