Women in Apprenticeship

Working in the building construction trades can be very rewarding. It is tremendously empowering to use your hands, brain and heart to build a building, road or bridge. To be able to look at what you have done at the end of the day and say, “Look what I’ve accomplished” Is great. Meeting physical challenges that others may assume you cannot accomplish gives you a sense of pride, and the pay and possible benefits are generous. Additionally, being part of a team, working outdoors, and working with tools or large equipment all have their appeal, if you are so inclined.

If you are interested in this line of work, follow these guidelines:

  1. Visit www.dir/databases/das/aigstart.asp to find apprenticeship programs in your county
  2. Contact the the apprenticeship program of your choice and inquire as to how to apply.
  3. If you are not sure which trade you are interested in, browse the website   http://www.calapprenticeship.org/ ". and check out the crafts. Also, explore pre-apprenticeship programs in your area that offer a chance to try a variety of trades.  If you currently know someone in the trades, ask questions about what it is like for them. Do your research. Apprenticeship might be just the right fit you have been looking for.

Construction is non-traditional work for women, and along with the benefits come some challenges. Many women working in the trades before you, have met these challenges and enjoyed fulfilling, lifetime careers, supporting their families and retiring with pensions. In 2006, the California Apprenticeship Council conducted a survey of 400women at journey and apprentice levels. The results are contained in a report at the following link, Women in Apprenticeship

Learning how to use the equipment, meet expectations and become familiar with the culture on the job site are all hurdles others have overcome. One significant fact revealed by the CAC survey was the importance of having another woman as mentor for women in the trades. Finding support is key to prevailing in this line of work. The following links are organizations which can be helpful and supportive resources for women in the trades.

Tradeswomen Inc. is a California organization that hosts a conference every May, along with being a wonderful resource for women in construction in California. www.tradeswomen.org/

WINTER – Women In Non-Traditional Employment Roles is based in Long Beach. www.winterwomen.org/
The National Association for Women in Construction. www.nawic.org.

These sites have additional links that can put you in touch with information and women around the country living their career dreams in the building and construction trades.