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Donation supports women in trades at Camosun

A major donation will allow Camosun College to establish the Camosun Empowering Women in Trades Program. - File photo
A major donation will allow Camosun College to establish the Camosun Empowering Women in Trades Program.
— image credit: File photo

The Camosun College Foundation's TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign has received the largest gift in the college's history. The foundation's first ever major campaign to create a trades education facility on the college's Interurban campus attracted exceptionally strong community support, surpassing the original $5 million goal by 50 per cent to reach $7.5million raised.

The Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation has provided $1 million that will be directed at establishing an innovative new program to support trades training opportunities for women. To be named the Camosun EmpoweringWomen in Trades Program, this landmark initiative will provide targeted support for qualified candidates throughout theRed Seal Apprenticeship program in trades such as welding, sheet metal, mechanical and the construction trades.

The initiative will be designed to address financial barriers such as costs for transportation, childcare and living expenses while in school as well as protective clothing and tools. The program's dedicated staff will conduct personal needs assessments to determine where lack of funding is a barrier and identify eligible candidates for support. Details of the program are presently under development.

Morgan and Trottier are local residents and generous philanthropists with a strong interest in pragmatic educational programs and leadership initiatives. Their priorities align with Camosun College's greatly enhanced focus on real skills for real jobs in skilled trades and technology. From their own experience they came to place high value on education,especially programs that support and encourage students pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology,engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The new Camosun Empowering Women in Trades Program is one of many initiatives their foundation has launched at educational institutions across Canada.

"Women who aspire to a career in the skilled trades often face financial and personal challenges which can prevent them from achieving their goal. By supporting the Camosun Empowering Women in Trades initiative we can help turn their aspirations into reality," said Trottier.

"We know our gift to Camosun College will have a life-altering impact for women who discover skilled trades education,"said Morgan. "A Red Seal tradesperson certification is a gender-equal, rewarding career opportunity that can boost the lives of women and those who may depend upon them."

TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign co-chair Murray Farmer said the donation demonstrates a clear understanding of the fulfilling careers the skilled trades offer and underscores their personal commitment to advancing opportunities for women of determination and promise.

Camosun College president Sherri Bell said the program will be transformative at every level.

"Supporters like Gwyn and Patricia are inspirational to us as educators and we are so grateful for the impact their remarkable gift will have for the benefit of our students and our community," said Bell.

Justine McHale is currently a sheet metal apprentice at Camosun.

"Without support for women in trades, I can say for certain that I would not be where I am today. With this kind of additional support in the future it is so helpful to know that I'm not alone and that I'm totally capable of being in the trades world."

In B.C., just two years after completing a Red Seal apprenticeship, 91 per cent of skilled trades graduates have jobs with a median wage of $31 an hour or over $60,000 a year. A Red Seal certification is a rapid ticket from 'learn to earn' - but women make up only 4.4 per cent of students enrolled in trades education programs in B.C.

 

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