If I had a hammer…


Last week, I watched a group of diverse women raise brand new hammers in the air with pride and a whoop of joy. They’d just received the hammers together with a certificate that means they can now call themselves carpenters.

We came together to celebrate their completion of the George Brown College, Level 1 – General Carpentry certification course. These women are now ready to go out into a traditionally male industry and show them what they’ve got.

Funded by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, YWCA Toronto’s Pre-Apprenticeship General Carpentry Program is provided in partnership with George Brown College. The course takes the women through formal classroom sessions and hands-on training in the college’s workshop. Now these proud women know how to use hand and power tools for metal cutting, welding, material preparations and wood work.

One of the participants, Chi Su Kim, arrived in Canada from Korea only three years ago with her husband and two children. Leaving their families behind to live here was a huge step for both of them, but her husband was determined to continue his education in Canada. She supports her husband’s goals, but she worries about making ends meet. When she heard about the carpentry program at YWCA Toronto, she was very interested because she is a wood sculptor with a degree in Fine Arts. She’s thrilled that after only six months of training she now has a finishing job on a construction site. She can provide her family with an income; something she’d never imagined was possible.

She’s typical of the 18 women who took the training, in that the possibilities the certificate offers were previously considered impossibilities. She’s not the only participant who has already found employment in a field where workers can expect a satisfactory salary.

George Brown’s Director of Apprenticeship Programs, Rolf Priestniz congratulated the women and urged them to take their place in the industry.  Sacha Bradley, Coordinator of the program talked about the camaraderie amongst the women and their sincere dedication to learning as much as they could. Maisie Raymond-Brown, Manager of YWCA Toronto’s JUMP program  and Melissa Narine, YWCA Job Coach/Job Developer handed each woman her new hammer with a hug and great hopes for  their future careers.

For more information on YWCA Toronto’s Pre-Apprenticeship General Carpentry Program
Contact Maisie Raymond-Brown at 416-964-3883 ext 214 or mbrown@ywcatoronto.org.

Lise Schofield, Manager – Marketing and Communications YWCA Toronto




  1. abrasives grinding wheels
    10 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

    • admin
      10 years ago

      Thank you for your interest, we’re so glad you found it useful. You can find out more about this program and all of our employment programs by visiting http://www.ywcatoronto.org and clicking on Employment.