We have a space
The Red Bench gives women and individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community access to a fully equipped workshop where they can hone their skills, learn new ones, and discover their strengths. We create an environment where individuals feel confident, encouraged, and inspired to do whatever they put their mind to – with tools in hand.
Red is in our name because it represents how powerful our community is.
Bench because the workbench is where our members gather around to share ideas.
Having women and LGBTQIA+ individuals in technical roles is an important step to achieving gender equity in the skilled trades and technology. In Alberta, only 7% of enrollments in skilled trades and technology programs at NAIT, Alberta’s leading polytechnic, and 23.5% of newly licensed engineers are women [1,2]. Nationwide, 5% of apprentice carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and welders are women .
We want to increase the number of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals who have an interest in the skilled trades and technology and who know how to use tools. We believe that the most effective way to do this is to give women and LGBTQIA+ individuals the shop space, tools, and confidence they need to gain and continue to develop their technical skills.
When women and LGBTQIA+ individuals see others like them in technical roles, they develop confidence in their ability to be handy. How can we encourage confidence? By creating a space where women and LGBTQIA+ individuals from all walks of life can get to know one another, find or be a mentor, and participate in hands-on activities which are either group-based or self-directed in a casual, community-driven environment.
Our focus is on pre-training and pre-certification, where the intention is to draw women and LGBTQIA+ individuals to the skilled trades and technology and encourage them to pursue educational and professional opportunities that align with their technical interests. We are here to let women and LGBTQIA+ individuals know that they are capable of whatever they put their minds to! When women and LGBTQIA+ individuals thrive, communities thrive too.
1.K. Muzyka. Why has the number of Alberta women in trades stagnated for a decade?, CBC News, Dec 2017. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/women-alberta-trades-nait-edmonton-1.4434680.
2. 30 by 30, Engineers Canada. Retrieved from https://engineerscanada.ca/diversity/women-in-engineering/30-by-30.
3. K. Frank, M. Frenette. How Do Women in Male-dominated Apprenticeships Fare in the Labour Market?, Appendix Table 1, Statistics Canada, Mar 2013. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11f0019m/11f0019m2019008-eng.htm.