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Women Are Thriving in Non-Traditional Occupations

By Admin
Heavy Equipment Jobs

Team-oriented, less competitive, safer on the job-site and easier on equipment; women are quietly moving into a male dominated industry of heavy equipment operation.

EDMONTON, AB – The only thing missing from the sixteen proud new Heavy Equipment Training graduates is ego and attitude.  The certified heavy equipment training (delivered outside Edmonton over the past three months) was supplied by High Velocity Equipment Training and sponsored by Imperial Esso and an Edmonton based non-profit organization.

Industry and government are taking notice as Canada’s commitment to increasing the role that women play in non-traditional occupations. This new attitude was demonstrated by the Honorable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, when she said “Empowering more women to succeed in non-traditional careers makes sense for Canadian women and Canada’s economy,” Minister Ambrose went on to say “The Government of Canada is committed to making sure Canada’s labor markets meet the demands of a modern economy” in an public address on March 22 in Edmonton, Alberta. An initiative entitled Economic Action Plan 2013 outlines several approaches to better connect Canadians with job opportunities. These measures will contribute to increased representation of women in all occupations, including skilled trades and other non-traditional occupations, many of which are experiencing skills shortages according to the Status of Women Canada website.

Working Women last year represented only 4% of those working in construction trades, and 20% of those working in primary industries such as forestry, mining, oil and gas. Shayne Bonnough, the CEO of High Velocity Equipment Training (HVET) is out to change that and he and his staff congratulate the sixteen proud new female graduates from their intensive 12 week heavy-equipment cross-training program.

Bonnough continues “I can’t use the term Equal-Status when referring to our female graduates, because these women have earned a higher status than many of our male graduates because they can crown a road, load a truck and blade a slope; but most importantly they do it without all the drama of the male graduates who are often trying to prove who is better than who. The proof is in the pudding, and these female graduates are in high demand by employers. For example, since we started our dedicated Heavy Equipment Training College six years ago we have diligently tracked each student and communicated with each graduate and we are pleased to report that 90% of the graduates contacted are employed; but not surprising is that 100% of our female graduates are employed at an average salary of  $70K per year.”

High Velocity Equipment Training College commitment to training a new workforce for industry does not end with coordinating the employment and the training. At last month’s BC Metis Economic Development conference in Vancouver, HVET announced $10,000 in new bursaries for women and an additional $10,000 of bursaries for Metis people. Last year HVET announced $100,000 in bursaries and awarded varying amounts to aboriginal applicants and female applicants that demonstrated financial need.

An Edmonton Journal article Feb. 21 by Pamela Irving told the story of one student named Tina Onnis as being at the top of her game. As a former Red Seal chef working at a camp north of Fort McMurray Onnis said, “I’ve hit a plateau. Speaking from Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s Horizon Camp Onnis said I’m at the top for the oil-patch, but it’s time for a change,” “I could stay and continue doing what I am doing. I am very comfortable, but that’s not really who I am.”

Irving reported that a friend told Onnis about the heavy equipment-operator course and Onnis was one of 16 applicants accepted from a pool of over 150, mostly career changers from a variety of professional backgrounds. Women Building Futures also placed a focus on recruiting rural women and those leaving the military for the new program. “I will be developing a completely new and interesting skill set that can continue to grow.” Said Onnis

Pamela Irving goes on to describe the 12-week heavy equipment training program delivered by High Velocity Equipment Training as a workplace culture-readiness training and heavy equipment operator skills training program.

Five companies have committed considerable resources to make this training opportunity happen – Imperial Oil Limited is covering all training and fuel. Emeco and Finning Canada are providing the heavy equipment, plus the service on the equipment, throughout the 12-week training program. Mammoet Canada Western Ltd. is transporting the equipment and Lehigh Hanson is providing the land on which the training program is delivered.

Photos on request:

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