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The APECQ women’s mentorship program: a successful launch

October 26, 2016

An air of enthusiasm reigned as the 28 mentees and mentors participating in the APECQ mentorship program, Programme de mentorat de l’APECQ: La construction de demain!, met for the first time on October 15, 2016. The new program, addressed to women professionals and contractors working in the construction industry, began with training on mentorship principles. Mentees and mentors then participated in a series of “speed meetings” that enabled them to identify their preferences for the pairings.

 Read the article introducing the women’s mentorship program

Several participants shared their motivations and expectations. Their point of view reflects an industry in which the challenges for women are still great, but in which the desire to change things is becoming clearer and clearer.

Ivanka Iordanova  Mentor
Director, BIM/VDC – Pomerleau
Holds a master’s degree in architecture and a doctorate in planning

“The young women working in our industry need guidance, and I find that mentoring represents the best way to support them in their professional career. As a woman working at the intersection of two traditionally male sectors, construction and computers, and with my experience in teaching, I am very happy to have this opportunity to communicate my knowledge. What I hope to contribute the most through this mentorship relationship is to help the mentee develop her self-confidence and courage to meet the challenges that interest her and her capacity to view the future with optimism and pride!”

Lysiane Rivet  Mentee
Contractor – R&M Construction

“I have a degree in architectural technology and am studying construction engineering. I just started my own company with a partner, and I’m looking for a mentor who can guide me in this complex sector, which is governed by numerous laws and standards – an experienced person who will show me what to do to establish my credibility as a contractor. Through my experiences in the field, I have seen the prevailing sexism in the industry. For example, many of my male colleagues have had an opportunity to replace a superintendent on construction sites, whereas no woman has had this chance. It seems that women are seen as belonging in the office, and nowhere else.”

Daniel Bédard Mentor
Labour relations consultant and president of Gestion Un Quart

“I’ve been working in this industry for eight years. I see the stereotypes about women, and I’m aware of how few are in the industry. Québec is clearly behind the other provinces. This issue is not up to women to solve alone: men have to commit to improving the situation so that attitudes evolve and the culture in the construction sector is transformed. It is not just regulations that will cause this change, but also activities like this mentorship program, which I’m thrilled to be participating in.”

Vanessa Dominguez Mentee
Architect – Yelle Maillé architectes

“I’m experiencing a good deal of frustration in my professional career. I am an entrepreneurial person, and I am quickly disappointed when I cannot exploit my full potential. The fact that I am an immigrant has added to the difficulty. It was hard to land my first job here, to have the experience and skills that I acquired in France count. I’m planning to launch a real estate investment firm, and I’m convinced that the mentorship program will help me a great deal to plan things, by giving me an inside look at how business is done in the Québec construction industry.”

The CCQ embraces the APECQ initiative and views the presence of women in decision-making positions on Québec construction projects as a positive factor in integrating more tradeswomen onto construction sites.