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Media Release
Release Date: March 9, 2017

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 powerhouse on the college’s Interurban Campus attracted exceptionally strong community support, surpassing the original $5 million goal by 50% to reach $7.5 million raised.

This most recent gift comes from The Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation and will be directed at establishing an innovative new program to support trades training opportunities for women. To be named the Camosun Empowering Women in Trades Program, this landmark initiative will provide targeted support for qualified candidates throughout the Red 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.

Mr. Morgan and Ms. 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. They both come from modest roots in rural Alberta.

Mr. Morgan, a Member of the Order of Canada, devoted three decades of his career building EnCana Corporation into Canada’s largest energy company. He was recognized as Canada’s Outstanding CEO and Most Respected CEO. He has also served on the boards of five global corporations.

During her career, Ms. Trottier was a well-known investor relations specialist. She served on publicly traded and not-for-profit boards and led national and community non-profit initiatives. 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 bold 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 Patricia Trottier.

“We know our gift to Camosun College will have a life-altering impact for women who discover skilled trades education,” stated Gwyn 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.” 

“On behalf of the TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign we express our sincere appreciation for the profound generosity of Patricia Trottier and Gwyn Morgan in making this gift,” said Murray Farmer, TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign co-chair. “This action 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.”

“This will be transformative at every level,” says Camosun College President Sherri Bell. “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.”

Justine McHale is a former sheet metal foundation student who has transitioned into work. She plans to return to Camosun College to complete her apprenticeship. “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 BC, 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 BC.

This generous $1 million contribution from The Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation, combined with additional funding previously committed by Seaspan, The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Concert Properties and the RBC Foundation, will go a long way to enhancing trades training and job opportunities for women. 


Emmy Stuebing
Director, Advancement
Camosun College Foundation
Office: 250-370-4578
Cell: 250-217-1565

Justine McHale

Justine McHale

Last updated: March 9, 2017 12:42 pm

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