Across the Boards - Winter 2019 Feature

District School Board of Niagara

Young Women Encouraged to Find Their Passion in the Skilled Trades

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kevin Unger, DSBN Graduate

"It's inspiring to see so many people doing what they love."

Eventually, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary student Parween Taheri sees herself doing what she loves in the broadcasting industry.

Whether it's radio, television, or film, Taheri said her experience in the industry has been incredible and she looks forward to continuing her learning in that sector.

The St. Catharines student was one of nearly 300 young women at the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) who took part in November's "Live Your Passion!" event in Niagara Falls.

The evening was designed for female high school students to meet with women working in the skilled trades to network, ask questions, and investigate a variety of dynamic career options.

Roy Smith, DSBN Technological Education and Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) Consultant said having the support of role models currently working in the industry was critical to the event's success.

"Our goal is to help students discover the different pathways that lead to success in the skilled trades and technologies," he said.

"The female mentors who shared their stories helped students understand that women can find rewarding careers in any sector of the skilled trades they choose to enter," he said.

Ironworker and advocate for women in the skilled trades, Jamie McMillan, was one of the keynote speakers at the event and told students there are endless opportunities available to them in the construction sector.

"These are exciting jobs that both men and women can do," said McMillan.

With 58 different SHSM programs in 13 different economic sectors, young women at the DSBN are finding more opportunities than ever in the skilled trades.

Currently, the DSBN has over 300 female students enrolled in SHSM programs.

The increased emphasis on technology and skilled trades programming is something McMillan sees as a positive development.

"It's an incredibly empowering time to be a woman in the skilled trades," said McMillan.

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