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Home maintenance course introduces women to shop basics

Women aren’t traditionally known for doing home repairs, but a course at the Nova Scotia Community College is changing that.

Women aren’t traditionally known for doing home repairs, but a course at the Nova Scotia Community College is changing that.

It’s called Home Maintenance for Women and students learn the basics, such as how to use basic hand tools and power tools, as well as how to do door, deck and drywall repairs.

“It’s a very cost-effective way of doing things if you can do it yourself,” says Bronwen Lloyd. She took the course earlier this year and it’s proven beneficial.

Lloyd recently purchased an older home and says there are lots of needed projects, but she’s ready for them.

“I simply feel more confidence to tackle it and to know what products to buy...,” says the 39-year-old consultant for the provincial government.

Lloyd has nothing but praise for the instructor of the course, James Byrne.

“I definitely learned a lot from him,” she says.

Lloyd says students were able to discuss things that needed fixing at home and Byrne would explain what needed to be done. For example, one student needed to replace the screen on a screen door.

“He actually showed us how to buy the screen, the tools to use and how to do it,” says Lloyd.

Byrne says the course has served as a launching pad for some students to pursue further studies in the skilled trades.

“It feels great,” he says. “It makes me feel like I really taught them something and they’re moving onto something better.”

And the time couldn’t be better for women looking to enter the skilled trades.

“There will be a need for approximately 3,700 additional skilled trades, transport and equipment operators in Nova Scotia over the next five years to meet new demand and replace those retiring,” says Department of Labour and Workforce Development spokesperson Kevin Finch in an email.

“The only ones we can get right now are the women because the men that want to get into it are already into it,” says Byrne.

He says the course is a great way to introduce women to the skilled trades without having them fully commit to a career in the skilled trades.

The class is split between theory and spending time in the shop. Byrne says the students don’t actually build anything as they are just getting the safety fundamentals down, but he says an advanced course is being considered.

 
 
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