Covergalls to Outfit IVEY Group’s New Women In Trades Initiative

March 8, 2024

 Sudbury-based companies team up to properly gear-up new trade workers

Covergalls Inc. will be outfitting 100 new women in trades coming to Canada by 2025 through the efforts of Sudbury-based recruitment and immigration company IVEY Group. 

The new initiative was announced this past Tuesday by the IVEY Group during the 2024 PDAC conference held in Toronto. This is the first time the international recruitment firm has teamed up with Covergalls Inc. and launched an initiative that specifically targets the recruitment of women in trades in Canada. 

Covergalls Inc. CEO and founder Alicia Woods said she is “beyond excited and inspired” to partner with IVEY Group and see this initiative launch.  

Covergalls to Outfit IVEY Group’s New Women In Trades Initiative
Covergalls and IVEY Group at PDAC 2024 launch event (Dasha Khomenko/IVEY Group)

“Getting the chance to help support the women coming to Canada through IVEY Group’s initiative is an incredible privilege,” said Woods. “All of us at Covergalls are happy to help play a part in helping welcome these women to Canada by outfitting them so they can not only enter the workplace dressed in a way in which they feel they belong, but also thrive.” 

IVEY Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, Antonio Lopez, explained that the initiative’s goal is to help support women in trades in Canada and, ultimately, welcome 100 new qualified workers by 2025.

Launching not just a new initiative but new careers in Canada 

Through numerous travels around the world, including Peru, Columbia, Ukraine and parts of Africa, Lopez noticed a number of talented women who did not have the same exposure and opportunities to serve in the trades. 

“We thought it would be a great idea to get these women the opportunity they deserve; to have an opportunity to work in a Canadian company and really develop and really show what they’re capable of doing.” 

So over the course of a year Lopez and his team at IVEY Group began their work to find talented workers who could help fill the job gaps here in Canada. This work includes numerous steps, including but not limited to: locating the talent, aligning them to job needs here in Canada, and doing due diligence to make sure that they were appropriately trained to do the jobs. This year’s recruitment targets were focused in trades, mostly manufacturing and mining, but some in heavy equipment, mechanic trades, building machine components, instrumentation, and electricians.

Finally, in December of last year, Lopez said they felt ready to pitch the initiative to some of their larger clients. He was confident, given their success already with aligning amazing workers to Canadian companies in the past. 

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is needed

In February, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released its eighth annual Ontario Economic Report. Daniel Tisch, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the growth sector in mining as a “bright spot” in their media release on the report, but there are still concerns about labour shortages from experts for both Sudbury and Ontario in 2024. 

This is where the IVEY Group’s recruitment and immigration mission to help supply the growing labour demand in Canada with skilled global talent comes into play.  

“The reason why we started IVEY was because we wanted to bring diversity and inclusion to companies right? So immigrants, as well as women, and other underrepresented groups, can always have the opportunity to be there,” said Lopez.  

New pilot programs and initiatives, such as IVEY Group’s and the government’s new announcement on Wednesday to introduce a permanent rural immigration program in the fall of 2024, are important. 

 According to Lopez a big challenge, and opportunity, with their work is making sure new workers are aligned with their employer both culturally and professionally. He says this work requires effort on both sides. 

“I think the challenge we do face on our part is in cultural sensitivity training and all that with the women in training but also the customers that we work with to make sure that there is alignment and they know what to expect.” 

Improving diversity and inclusion practices at companies benefits not just the worker, but the companies themselves too. Despite the challenges that may arise, Lopez says he is excited about the initiative because, at its core, he knows it’s an amazing new opportunity for both the companies and the women involved.

“I believe we’re the first international recruitment company that is doing this initiative and that has a large target to accomplish this year. So it’s going to be challenging but it’s also going to be fun,” said Lopez.

Covergalls and IVEY Group connect over shared visions of inclusion 

The community in Sudbury is small, and so is the mining industry. It means that, oftentimes, businesses will notice the waves being made by other local companies in their field, especially if it aligns with their own mission. 

That was the case for Covergalls and IVEY Group, who had their world’s collided when, through a mutual advisor Pat Dubreuil realised they shared similar values in their work to empower and support under-represented workers in the trades.

Lopez says it was this similarity in values, as well as seeing the trailblazing work Woods had done for women in workwear, that made him feel confident in connecting and creating a partnership for their initiative. 

“I think there’s a lot of synergies among our companies,” said Lopez. “We also believe in providing people with equipment that can be used by everybody, so I’m just excited to see this work come together. I think it’s a great thing to be able to suit this year’s women coming to Canada with the proper gear, so they’re fitted properly and they can perform their best. I’m excited to see it come together.”

And, why only 100? Because it offers a starting point for IVEY Group to conquer. But Lopez is certain that “it’s just the beginning.”

“I think we set a target because, you know, for business it’s always been exciting to set a target and strive for it,” he said. “I think at the beginning the number 100 was scary to think about but, on average, we could have a plan to bring 700 people this year to Canada. So, out of those 700, 100 will be the best women that we’d found and can celebrate. So that’s why we set this target, but I do foresee this increasing year over year because I think there’s more interest in Canada and also outside of Canada to bring in talented women in trades.”

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