May 2019 – Now that another CAF-FCA year has come to an end, it’s time to reflect on our successes and identify what’s to come in the year ahead. 2018-2019 wasn’t without its share of challenges, yet the discussions facilitated, research published and progress within the apprenticeship community continues to drive the work we do and are included among our most proud accomplishments at CAF-FCA.
Last year, CAF-FCA hosted the inaugural, sold-out Supporting Women in Trades Conference in Halifax. The event brought together 350 apprenticeship stakeholders in a supportive space where tradeswomen and their allies shared their stories and insights on how to create welcoming and inclusive workplaces. Delegates learned about many great initiatives already happening across the country that work to address challenges faced by women in the skilled trades. The two days of conversation helped shape CAF-FCA’s Road Map to Supporting Women in Trades action plan, which we will be building on at our next SWiT conference in Vancouver, BC on June 17-18th 2019. We look forward to building on the momentum created in 2018 and continuing to showcase promising initiatives and best practices across Canada.
A one-day workshop for 100 participants explored how we can best support Indigenous student success in the skilled trades. The event showcased best practices of our community partners and featured an apprentice panel that left the participants with lots to think about in terms of how we all can contribute to creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Most recently, CAF-FCA hosted five regional consultations across the country to discuss existing pre-apprenticeship programs to gain and gain comprehensive understanding of how the community defines success of these programs. Valuable feedback and insights were collected at each session. Four additional consultations are planned this fall in other regions.
In 2019-20, we will build on current momentum, grow networks by welcoming new members, and lead the discussion on Canadian apprenticeship research and innovation. As interest increases for apprenticeship research and programming, CAF-FCA remains clear on its biggest value proposition to Canada. CAF is the Centre of Excellence for Apprenticeship Research and Innovation and the only organization that brings together the entire apprenticeship community – across sectors from every corner of the country – to share best practices and identify evidence-based solutions to common challenges.
Participation of CAF-FCA members is key to ensuring that these comprehensive cross-sectoral conversations happen. In the coming year we will continue to pursue important and relevant research opportunities on behalf of our members. Shared challenges will be addressed through facilitated discussion on topics like increasing participation of traditionally under-represented groups in the skilled trades, promotion of apprenticeship as a first-choice career pathway and the development of a National Apprenticeship Strategy.
I want to personally thank the CAF-FCA members, Board of Directors and staff for making my first six months as Executive Director enjoyable and exciting. I see so much potential in what we can accomplish together and look forward to continuing to make personal connections with you in the coming year and beyond.