A donation of $1.285 million will help open the doors to more women pursuing a career in a range of Red Seal trades programs at Camosun College.
The gift from The Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation is the second time the foundation has supported the Empowering Women in the Trades program and is a five-year commitment. It represents the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the college outside of estate gifts.
“The Empowering Woman in the Trades program has changed my life in such an incredible way, words can’t express the gratitude I have,” says Sarah Cooper, who completed the Women in Trades sampler in 2021 and who will soon be returning to the college for her next level apprenticeship. “I don’t know where my family and I would be there today without the ongoing mentorship and financial support that I’ve been given throughout my time at Camosun.”
“There has never been a more incredible opportunity for women to enter the skilled trades,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “With more than 85,000 job openings expected in the skilled trades over the next decade, programs like Empowering Women in Trades help support a more diverse workforce in high-demand fields such as carpentry and welding.”
Camosun is incredibly grateful for the renewed funding and support from The Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation. In 2017, the Foundation made a $1,000,000 to pledge to create this incredibly important and successful program. This second pledge will ensure the program will continue to grow and support women over the next five years. The College has great ambitions when it comes to changing the demographics of the trades and this gift will help support this.
“We saw the tremendous impact the first gift had on the lives of women over the last five year and how it encouraged more women to enter trades so it made sense to do it again,” says Gwynn Morgan. “It is important to ensure the Empowering Women in the Trades program can continue to raise the quality of life for tradespeople and their families, as well as ensure employers and industries have a workforce to draw upon.”
Government programs often assist with tuition costs but Empowering Women in Trades breaks down additional financial barriers facing women in the trades and assists with areas such as transportation, child care, living expenses and the cost of protection equipment and tools. The goal is to allow more women complete their Red Seal certification. While financial assistance is one barrier, Empowering Women in Trades also offers one on one support, networking, and mentoring opportunities as well as employment support. The program is unique to Camosun, striving to meet and support each student where they are on their own journey.
“Given the opportunity, a career in the trades can be life-altering for women, who unfortunately have historically faced obstacles,” says Patricia Trottier. “At a time when Canada is facing a skilled trades shortage impacting almost every industry and employer it is critical that women are given the chance to help close the skills gap and achieve their own personal and professional goals.”
“We saw the tremendous impact the first gift had on the lives of women over the last five year and how it encouraged more women to enter trades so it made sense to do it again. It is important to ensure the Empowering Women in the Trades program can continue to raise the quality of life for tradespeople and their families, as well as ensure employers and industries have a workforce to draw upon."
- Gwyn Morgan
As a result of the women-specific programs at Camosun, over 1,000 women have gone on to pursue a career in high-demand areas such as automotive, carpentry, professional cooking, sheet metal and welding. Skilled trades offer a challenging, rewarding and satisfying career. Some alumni have even come full circle by returning to Camosun to instruct the next generation of skilled trades people.
“Camosun is very proud of its work to improve access for students, particularly among underrepresented groups, and giving them the skills to thrive,” says Lane Trotter, president of Camosun. “The generous support of donors like the Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation is making a life changing difference to women seeking to complete Red Seal apprenticeships. Thank you.”
For over 40 years, students have come to Camosun for trades training, and employers have come to Camosun for skilled employees. Camosun offers apprenticeship training in 20 distinct trades, including 12 trades with the Interprovincial Red Seal Endorsement.