Open Door Group is a non-profit provider of employment services. They provide an eight week employment program out of the Tradeworks Training Facility – providing training and employment services to women interested in Carpentry related Trades. Tradeworks Training Society is a society that assists women with barriers to employment by providing secure meaningful work in woodworking and fabrication. It has previously received Canadian Women’s Foundation funding from our Economic Development grants program.

Breaking Down Barriers, Building a New Life

Inti Cancino Rocha

For years I was looking for the opportunity to get into carpentry.

During this time, I attempted to work with two construction companies but did not have success due to my lack of skills, since my background was in graphic design.


It was tough – every time I tried to find work it was a triple challenge, having to pass my cultural barriers (as an immigrant to Canada), my skills, and my life as a wife and a mother.

While this was happening, I came across an ad that seemed too good to be true; a free training program offered by Open Door Group for women who were interested in exploring a career in the trades.

Nervously, not knowing what to expect, I phoned the number in the ad and booked an interview. I remember my first day in the office and the excitement of knowing this wonderful place existed where I was going to learn the skills to begin my carpentry career.

From the beginning, I could see the positivity at work in the space. The program leads really gave you the tools and training to go into the market and find work.

I loved the fact that the people in this program were passionate about their job, you could really feel the love they put in to it. They did not judge participants, but instead guided us through the challenges that came up. Another thing I really appreciated about this program was the chance to connect with other women interested in trades, which is not easy to find.

After graduating from the program, I gained short-term employment with Tradeworks Training Society, which employs program graduates, further developing my skills and experience creating custom millwork products. I am very excited about the new opportunities opening-up in my future.

In a nutshell, this is the best place a woman could find if she wants to pursue a career in trades.

A New Way of Living

Kaitlin Wyenberg

Before I got into the Women in Trades training program with Open Door Group, hosted at the Tradeworks Facility, I was doing a lot of things as an attempt to find myself.

In high school I focused on photography. I figured that was my calling, since nothing else seemed to interest me. At the time, trades weren’t popular for women to get into, which is still true today. Women who are interested or show ability are rarely encouraged to pursue trades as a career.

Having Open Door Group state clearly that it’s an all-women’s program was incredibly encouraging and eased my nervousness around getting involved.

From learning the mechanics of the tools to getting hands-on experience, Open Door Group allowed me to get in touch with a new artistic side. The more I learned, the more I felt comfortable with exploring my creative boundaries, and the more opportunities were presented to me.

I feel honoured to be a part of this new movement of women getting involved with the trades. If it wasn’t for the support of my teachers and the endless resources at Tradeworks, I wouldn’t have ever thought I could become a successful woman in woodworking.

This program has shown me a new way of thinking, a new way of creating, and a new way of living. Since graduating and getting involved with the trade, I see the craft of woodworking in the world around me every single day.

I’ll be forever grateful for being presented the chance to learn a new skill that will only ever benefit my community and my own personal well-being. 

The Women in Trades Training program is funded through the Canada BC Job Fund and managed by the Industrial Training Authority of British Columbia. 

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