Graham Partners with Women Building Futures

Jul162019

Graham has embarked on a three-year partnership with Women Building Futures (WBF) in a strategic effort to encourage more women into our workplace. The Edmonton-based organization prepares women for prosperous careers in the trades. The WBF Journeywoman Start program is a 17-week multi-trade readiness program that provides students with skills training, safety certification, Workplace Culture Awareness©, fitness, financial literacy and academics to hit the ground running on the construction site. Once they’ve graduated from this program and with the support of a WBF Alumni Advisor the graduates earn referrals to WBF industry partners in preparation for their apprenticeships.

“WBF is thrilled to be partnering with Graham,” says Megan Bates, Manager of Industry Relations. “When WBF partners with industry, the why is always focused on providing the ‘right’ employment opportunities for the long term success of WBF Alumni. We know that by partnering with industry leaders who are committed to ongoing training and apprenticeship support, who demonstrate a fair and inclusive work environment and who prioritize a safety culture, retention increases. The average increase in income for women starting their careers in the construction industry following a WBF program is 127%. The opportunity for women to train for employment with Graham changes women’s lives, and the lives of their children. Not only will this partnership lead to employment opportunities for WBF Alumni, but we also know that together we will continue to change the face of the construction industry in a way that is measureable and we will continue to improve the construction environment for everyone.”

As a strategic partner, Graham participates in a quarterly interview day where leaders conduct mock interviews to prepare the women for future employment opportunities. During this process, if we find candidates that fit the Graham culture, we’re able to hire them directly, giving us the opportunity to continue to diversify our workforce with women who are ready to hit the ground running with appropriate safety and skills training. As employees of Graham, those women also have access to our industry-leading, project management Institute (PMI) and Gold Seal certified internal training courses to continue to enhance their skills.

To date, we’ve participated in four interview days! We kicked off our partnership in April of this year and have hired a total of three graduates on various project sites. We anticipate hiring even more, given the talent and dedication of these women.

“As an organization that places high value on diversity and inclusion, we’re very excited about our partnership with Women Building Futures and enthusiastic about our role in developing our female workforce in Canada,” shares Terry Grant, Director of Business Development. “This partnership is a true win for everyone involved. WBF benefits from the opportunity to reach an increasing number of construction professional and leaders, potentially growing their program. Graham benefits from the opportunity to acquire more skilled tradespeople as we face a labour shortage due to the retiring workforce in Western Canada. And most importantly, it’s a win for the graduating student who receives top-notch training, exposure and experience in the ever-evolving construction industry.”

This partnership positions Graham as a WBF Employer of Choice for women, and as an industry leader.