WBF celebrates graduation of first Journey to Trades class in Calgary

Published On
May 30, 2024

Women Building Futures (WBF) celebrated a significant milestone with the graduation of the first Journey to Trades program in Calgary on May 2 at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Among the 13 graduates, Téa, Darby and Maryon share their stories of resilience, passion and determination.

With unique backgrounds and experiences, each found their way to the Journey to Trades program with the goal to launch their careers and change their lives.

Overcoming barriers with support

Téa always held an interest in the trades early on yet was uncertain where to start in a field where women were traditionally under-represented. “But after gaining more self-esteem and confidence, I decided I could do this,” she says. Finding the Journey to Trades program through a friend’s recommendation, Téa took the chance to pursue her passion through the supportive environment WBF provided.

“One of the things I really enjoyed was the relationship I built,” says Téa. “Everyone helps each other out, and the instructors are amazing.”

Maryon’s journey was fueled by a desire for economic stability and personal empowerment. “After experiencing job loss and financial instability, I sought a stable career,” she recounts. Balancing her studies with the responsibilities of being a mother to a child with special needs, Maryon found immense support from her classmates.

“My classmates helped me catch up when life got in the way,” Maryon says.

Similarly, Darby’s pursuit of independence and financial stability led her to the trades. “Financial stability is something everyone chases,” she says. The support and training from WBF equipped Darby with the skills and confidence to pursue her goals.

“I’m so ready to work hard and prove myself,” she shares.

Breaking into male-dominated fields

Téa, Darby and Maryon’s experiences underscore the challenges faced by women in male-dominated industries. Téa was always drawn to electrical work but was initially intimidated by the male-dominated environment. “I went into more feminine types of work because I was very too nervous for it. It’s like, I’m too girly for this. They’re not gonna take me seriously, and I backed out,” she recalls.

Maryon faced similar challenges. After struggling to find a woman carpenter for her basement renovation and feeling dismissed by male contractors, she decided to become the change she wanted to see. “It was frustrating not being taken seriously,” Maryon recalls. “I wanted to be someone other families could rely on.”

Darby echoes this sentiment, passionate about proving herself and challenging stereotypes. “I want to prove not just to myself but to everyone that women can, Indigenous women can, anyone can do this,” she says.

A path to economic security

The Journey to Trades program not only provided Téa, Darby and Maryon with technical skills but also laid the foundation toward economic security. As they graduate, all 3 are eager to apply their newfound skills and confidence in the workplace.

“I’ll be really looking forward to finding the right employer for myself and to have a mentor,” shares Téa.

Maryon dreams of becoming a journeyperson and eventually obtaining her Red Seal in carpentry. “It would be a dream come true to be able to build your house from top to bottom,” she says.

Darby, driven by the desire to challenge herself and inspire others, is ready to prove that women can thrive in male-dominated industries “I just kind of need someone to take that chance on me… And see what I’m capable of,” she explains.

Inspiring the next generation

To women considering a career in the trades, Téa, Maryon and Darby have clear messages of encouragement. “Don’t let people think that you can’t do the job just because you are feminine,” advises Téa. “You can do both.”

Maryon echoes this sentiment, urging women to seize the opportunity regardless of their background or circumstances. “If you have interest, a little inclination that you think you want to be in the trades, please leave your excuses behind and go for the opportunity.”

Darby adds, “Just try it. Even if you don’t go into a job right away, you’ll come out with these skills that you didn’t have before, more independent and more confident,” she says. “Those tools are irreplaceable.”

Téa, Darby and Maryon’s stories are testaments to the transformative power of the Journey to Trades program. They’ve left the program equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to build successful careers in the trades, ready to pave the way for more women to follow in their footsteps.


Journey to Trades is an introductory construction trades program that prepares you with the basic hands-on skills, safety certifications and confidence to start a career in the construction trades. The program runs for 12 to 17 weeks and is offered in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Regina. To stay updated on the latest programs news, sign up for our newsletter.


Story by Hannaj May De Guzman, HR and Communications Intern