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Training Programs for Women in Construction

Last modified: 2022-09-06 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Cynthia Pigeon

Nowadays, it is hardly considered unusual for women to find themselves and thrive in the workplace, nor is it for them to pursue a position that was, formerly, geared toward men.

As a matter of fact, women make up a significant percentage of the workforce in various fields in the construction industry. However, even if it is no longer uncommon, has the mindset, awareness, and opportunity surrounding these jobs changed at the same pace as the influx of women working in the field?

Had this matter been a deal, there probably would not be as many governments - or agency-sponsored programs aimed at facilitating gender equality/diversity in the workplace and debunking its many misconceptions. Although women face obstacles along the way, which are, for the most part, unintentional, these social issues stem from, among other things, a lack of awareness, knowledge, and understanding.

How can we help you, contractors, better integrate women into your work sites?

PAEF - Access program aimed at gender equality within the construction industry

Beyond preconceived notions 

In this day and age, amongst the many worries and taboos that surface, we still get wind about women not being strong enough to hold down a physically demanding job, or that they are visual creatures, emotional even as opposed to manually skilled. Oftentimes, subtleties are implied during work-related interviews in regard to potential maternity leave or future family-related responsibilities that will affect their availability. 

However, contractors who have welcomed women onto their teams have noticed non-negotiable benefits such as a great adherence to security guidelines, a better discernment of skills and weaknesses, and a positive front conveyed to clients. 

Beyond the histrionics related to muscles, especially considering that heavy machinery and technology have aided our generation of workers, what is really being called into question is acceptance. The leading goal of such programs, which are offered by way of the Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ), is to enable women to benefit from the same training and access to the construction industry as men. And, over everything else, to help employers retain and integrate these notions by properly managing the ethical risks involved. 

Equally Skilled. Equal Rights. 

equality_training programs for women in construction

Photo: Flickr


In 2013, a committee specially dedicated to women working in the construction industry was established. To spread awareness of the matter, this group fights on all fronts to attempt to put in place various concrete guidelines to solve these problematic issues:

In regards to employers

  • Bringing awareness to this reality;
  • Informing them of available resources (such as the Programme pour la formation des femmes en entreprise - Training program for women in the industry, see below);
  • Giving them the right tools by way of various training (respect in the workplace, harassment intervention and prevention methods, staff retention, access to labour, onboarding, etc.);
  • Changing their apprentice-journeyperson ratios, therefore, for every woman hired, onboarding an additional female apprentice on their worksite; 
  • Allowing women to work outside of their respective regions at a faster rate than men (fewer mandatory cumulative hours); 
  • Recognizing their dedication to working/hiring women (some admissible criteria are applicable). 

In regards to women

  • Trying to increase the percentage of women on every work site every year;
  • Mentoring them and providing professional feedback;
  • Providing a certificate of qualifications upon an employer’s confirmation of their onboarding with the CCQ (certificate awarded without having completed 150 hours within a period of 3 months, but with a guarantee of completing 150 hours within 2 years times);
  • Should they be certified/trained, allowing them immediate entry into specialized trades (welding, surveying, etc.);
  • Systematically referring them upon demand from an employer. 

In regards to organizations with similar goals

  • By creating partnership networks; 
  • By awarding funding.

In regards to the industry

  • By promoting organizational policies and procedures to counter discrimination and isolation;
  • By creating support programs.

women_training programs for women in construction

Photo: Flickr

PFFE - Programme pour la formation des femmes en entreprise (Training program for women in the industry)

With efforts in regards to deploying numerous significant measures aimed at integrating women into the construction industry, this program perfectly encompasses the elements brought to the surface in the course of this article, as well as providing a financial incentive to contractors

Overall, with respect to the framework established by the PFFE, and following the available training, employers who support women holding a valid certification of qualification, as well as their mentor, will benefit from 30% of the salary paid to the woman registered with the program (a maximum of $10,000 over 52 weeks). 

On account of the ACQ, the above-mentioned is possible due to financing provided by Fonds des formation des salariés de l’industrie de la construction (FFSIC - Training funds for paid construction workers) and is offered by Fiers et compétents.

For more information, check out the ACQ’s website. 

solidarity_training programs for women in construction

Photo: Pixabay

Other Useful Sources

Elles de la construction (Women in construction)

Offers support programs in relation to women's status in the construction industry, which includes immigration-related measures, compassion, empowerment activities, and business support. 

Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (The Congress of Democratic Trade Unions)

The CSD is at the forefront of interventions when it comes to defending union rights and freedom. This organization actively participates in societal debates and issues that promote dignified values and respect in the workplace.

Femmes et construction (Women and the construction industry)

Rather helpful when it comes to job searches, inquiring in regards to the various existing associations and organizations, reading up on what has been accomplished to further the cause, and learning more about the funds available, streaming web segments, and networking. 

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