Chinook Scaffolding Corporate Safety Wendy Gaskill (left) and carpenter Gabrielle Herle (right) with their Contractor of the Year Award from the Builders Code Champion Awards. (Submitted photo)

Castlegar area scaffolding company recognized for inclusivity initiatives

Chinook Scaffolding recognized as Contractor of the Year at Builders Code Champion Awards.

A local construction company has been recognized for its initiatives towards providing a workplace that is dedicated to equality for all workers.

Chinook Scaffold Systems received the Contractor of the Year Award at the Builders Code Champion Awards recently. The awards were hosted by the B.C. Construction Association and Minerva BC. The awards recognized companies with advanced policies and practices that seek to ensure all employees can reach their full potential in the skilled trades, with a particular focus on gender and minority equity.

Red Seal carpenter Gabrielle Herle from the company’s Southern Interior headquarters in Genelle travelled to Victoria to accept the award.

“I have had a really good experience overall with being a carpenter,” said Herle, who has been with the company for four years. “But there are definitely some barriers that women and other equity-seeking groups face in this male-dominated industry.”

However, Herle is excited about inclusivity developments the industry.

“There are so many good things and initiatives and groups coming together to try and make the construction industry a more welcoming environment,” said Herle.

Chinook Scaffold Systems was recognized for “providing a workplace that is dedicated to equality for all workers.”

The were commended for having a senior management team that is 50 per cent female, a safety team that is 63 per cent female and having 8 per cent of foreman positions filled by females.

They also participate in entry level exposure programs such as Heavy Metal Rocks, which exposes high school students to potential careers in trades; partner with the Prince George Aboriginal Employment and Training Association to provide entry level trades training to Indigenous people and provide dedicated change rooms and appropriately sized clothing and harnesses for tradeswomen.

Corporate Safety Wendy Gaskill stated, “As a company, it is important that all of our crew members feel they are part of the team, as soon as they join the team, regardless of which change room they need to use.”

Chinook has also found ways to introduce new tradeswomen to the industry though joint ventures with local educational institutions and the local union hall.

The company says they also strive to place workers in roles that will permit them to advance their careers. Through various initiatives, they are actively pursuing women and equity-seeking groups by providing introductory or first-year apprentice training as a means to expose potential workers to the trade.

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Chinook Scaffolding Red Seal carpenter Gabrielle Herle (left)speaking at the Builders Code Champion Awards held at the end of November in Victoria. (Submitted photo)

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