Ceres is a single mother who emigrated from Central America to Canada a few years ago looking for a better life. The better life proved hard to find. Language was a barrier and her work experience from her home country was not recognized by Canadian employers. For more than five years, she struggled to find full-time employment.

Ceres came across the Tradeworks Women’s Workshop in April 2012, and after learning all the benefits the program would offer her, the prospects of working in the trades appealed to her. She joined the program and was ready to explore what new doors would open for her as a tradesperson.

Tradeworks Women’s Workshop program ensures women that they will build on their strengths, and learn a number of essential lessons in mathematics, problem-solving, business writing and communications. In addition, many hours would be spent on the shop floor learning how to use hand and power tools to build carpentry projects. The program also gave Ceres exposure to the manufacturing industry, provided workplace safety tips, and provided First Aid training and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System certification.

Through this process, the women received career guidance on choosing a trade that best suited their talents. In Ceres case, it became clear to her that she had most of the skills needed to pursue a career in the trades or auto mechanics. She then sought out a ‘practicum’ site, which would allow her to job shadow and assist mechanics on the job. A willing employer in North Van offered Ceres an opportunity to job shadow a mechanic at their work location. Since the transit fare was covered by Tradeworks, she was able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and grow.

After two weeks, Ceres was offered a job and given a car to make the commute and parenting a little easier. She had an opportunity to show the employer what she could do, and she shined. Now Ceres has to get serious about her apprenticeship!

Program graduate: August 2012