Trades Development & Special Projects

Since 2009, Camosun College’s Trades Development & Special Projects team has been proudly working to deliver in-demand, specialized, and unique training to equity seeking groups. This training is provided primarily on campus; however, we have expanded to deliver training to high schools and rural communities throughout British Columbia.

Specialized Trade programs

Our team works with students individually to tailor the student’s unique career ambitions into a comprehensive plan. This allows for multiple points of contact throughout their Trade progression.


Trade programs for women

Empowering Women

Camosun’s Empowering Women in Trades initiative was established in 2017 to support the continuation of Trade training opportunities for women. Since 2018, the Empowering Women in Trades initiative has supported several hundred female apprentices from entering into the trades, and have seen just under one hundred through to their Red Seal. 

The Empowering Women in Trades mandate is to provide support for eligible students throughout their Red Seal Apprenticeship Trades schooling, as well as create opportunities to network, develop mentorships, and build community.

Supports available can include:

  • Educational costs (including tuition, student fees, books, and supplies)
  • Living cost supports
  • Transportation costs
  • Child care costs
  • PPE and Tool allowance

Women in Trades Training (WITT)

Camosun has been delivering Women in Trades Training (WiTT) for 10 years. In that time we have sponsored over 1000 participants entering the trades.

Women in Trades Training is open to women with various backgrounds and skill levels who are looking for a career within the skilled Red Seal trades. Camosun and VIU (in partnership) offer two different sponsorship avenues: Trade sampling programs for women, and/or sponsorship into trade specific foundation/pre-apprenticeship programs.

Some important aspects of the Women in Trades Initiatives are the networking opportunities we foster. Social events such as breakfasts, luncheons, site tours, speaker days and volunteer opportunities help to create a sense of community for the women and encourage mentorship. Monthly Women in Trades breakfasts are attended by up to 50 women and are highly anticipated, though due to COVID we had pivoted to online activities.  

Informational Video
Video Photo Compilation 

Bridge Watch Rating for Women and Indigenous People

The Bridge Watch Rating (BWR) program is currently offered to women and Indigenous peoples, and through funding from Transport Canada and a partnership with BCIT, costs for tuition, books, course materials, and other specific items may be covered at no expense to the student. This can include costs for accommodations and food when students have to move to attend school. Funding for living expenses is not provided, though students can check in with Camosun’s Financial Aid office, their financial institutions, or an employment agency like WorkBC to explore options.

Bridge Watch Ratign Program testimonial video
Bridgewatch Rating Program informational video

Trade Programs for Indigenous Peoples

Community Projects

The impact of Community Projects is immeasurable to the Indigenous learners and the First Nations communities involved. Camosun’s Community Projects have completed 13 projects in seven years. They are structured and developed so that learners can receive training while simultaneously giving back to their community. The model focuses on being a bridge to change while supporting learners in ways that support their future.

The key to all this success is, firstly, the relationships, and secondly, the ability to bring the training into the community through on-site delivery. This training has taken place within the traditional territories of communities such as the Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Lil’wat, Tla-o-qui-aht, Tseycum, Songhees, Tsawout, Tsartlip and Pauquachin.

These opportunities are thanks to the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, SkilledTradesBC, and the First Nation communities, which have all supported partnerships leading to innovative Red Seal (RS) apprenticeship training.

Empowering Indigenous

This initiative is aimed to provide support for eligible students throughout their Red Seal Apprenticeship Trades program after the completion of a Foundations program.

Supports available can include:

  • Educational costs (including tuition, student fees, books, and supplies)
  • Living cost supports
  • Transportation costs
  • Child care costs
  • PPE and tool allowance
  • Mentorship
  • Networking opportunities

Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training

Most recent statistics indicate that Indigenous people make up 9% of the Trades workforce in British Columbia. Over the past decade, Camosun has worked diligently, on campus and on site, with First Nation communities to change this.

Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training (IPTT) is mandated to inform and assist Indigenous students to get into the trades. We have a trades sampler program that allows new learners to try each of the various trades in smaller capacities. We have found it useful to connect cultural values with employment and transferrable skills, therefore the use of Essential Skills is combined with Cultural sharing. With these skills developed, we hope that the students are more prepared for the next steps into either Apprentice Training Level 1 or Foundations.

Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training program

Trade Programs for Youth


In the spirit of collegiality, the School of Trades and Technology at Camosun and a range of Mainland school districts work collaboratively to deliver training to up to 100 students. This project delivers Culinary Arts, Electrical, Plumbing and Carpentry foundation programs allowing students to earn dual credit in both their high school and Camosun College. Upon completion, students can start their post-secondary education with extra credits to be used towards their Red Seal.

Mainland School District

This project delivers Culinary Arts, Electrical, Plumbing and Carpentry foundation programs to mainland School Districts, allowing students to earn dual credit in both their high school and in Camosun College. Instructors from Camosun work with School District instructors to deliver the program, as well as the final exam to students from the school district. With this credit, completed students can start their post-secondary education with extra credits to be used towards their Red Seal.

Pipe's Trades Training Trailer

Camosun College’s Pipe Trades Trailer is a state-of-the-art pipe shop on wheels that came to fruition thanks to the ESDC, Concert Properties, and other funders. It boasts the latest in pipe trade technology when it comes to tools, equipment, and instruction. The goal of the trailer is to reach communities where this level of technology and instruction is not accessible. Multiple projects have been developed for the students to introduce them the five different Red Seal Pipe Trades offered at Camosun. All the tools and equipment fit in the trailer, including individual toolboxes for the participants, allowing set up in almost any location with an adequate footprint.

Many participants expressed that their experience was a great success and, for some, shared that their primary reason for pursuing a career in the Pipe Trades was from their time spent with Camosun’s Pipe Trailer Program.  

Trades Awareness, Skills & Knowledge (TASK)

Trades Awareness, Skills & Knowledge (TASK) is a trades sampler program delivered to eight South Island high schools over the school year. Students are exposed to various skilled trades ranging from Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Welding, Sheet Metal, Automotive, or Heavy Duty at Camosun College or their high school. Students can explore the different trades and make an informed decision regarding trades being a career path.

Current and Past Partnerships

The strength of Camosun’s model is reflected in the team’s dedication to establishing connections. These connections mean our programs are strongly rooted in their diversity of relationships and partnerships.

Camosun is grateful for every partner who has been and continues to support the opportunities and growth of our students.

Coast Capital

The Coast Capital Trading Up Initiative is to help support Foundation and Apprenticeship students from any demographic to find success in their education and careers. It was developed to address the current absence of financial support for Trades students who do not qualify for other bursaries or programs.

Initiative Application

"Words cannot describe how truly thankful I am to receive such a significant award. Without the support of Coast Capital, I would not be where I am today. Through this funding, I have been able to purchase some of the tools and equipment necessary to complete my studies and to successfully begin my career as an automotive service technician. Additionally, this funding has made significant changes to my personal life, aiding me and my young son to live comfortably, despite the challenges of balancing full time, post secondary education, the high cost of living and being a single father."

- Anthony, Automotive Student

"Coast Capital has helped me greatly as an indigenous student through financial support, because of this support I’m able to focus on learning and have the best experience at Camosun College. I am happy that Coast Capital chose to help me and I hope to pay them back by serving my community."

-Daniel, Electrical Student

"Since I am the major breadwinner of a family with two kids, it was very hard to afford life expenses while I attended school, and because of that I had to work after my classes for three hours every single day which significantly would have affected my studies. At the moment, my Camosun average is over 95%, which shows that I have learnt a lot in the electrical course and achieved my goals in this field. Your generosity and help have affected my life positively and I will have the same approach in my career as well.”

-Mohammadreza, Electrical Apprentice

Concert Properties

Since 2004, Concert Properties has supported the trades in many different capacities, including but not limited to donations of vehicles, trailers, supplies, and more. In 2019, they made a large contribution to see the fruition of the Pipe's Trades Training Trailer and continuously support the Trades for Success program. Trades for Success is for youth, adult, and K-12 learners in communities with limited access to training providers or public post-secondary institutions. The goal is to build awareness of Red Seal trades and that these career pathways lead to sustainable employment within the underserved regions of British Columbia.


Ralmax Group of Companies

In 2020, Ralmax supported the Coastal Skills Initiative carpentry apprenticeship program, which was a very unique project and partnership with the Nuxalk First Nations. The project oversaw, from the beginning to completion, the carpentry apprenticeship program and saw 11 participants complete their Red Seal within that time, while three other participants were inspired to pursue a different trade of choice.  

Royal Bank of Canada

RBC contributed to Camosun's TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign. Their donation went towards funding program costs associated with the TURBOtrades Project, which was to provide enhanced recruitment, support and mentoring for students from underrepresented groups enrolled in trades education - specifically, Women in Trades.


SkilledTradesBC is a Provincially funded organization that leads and coordinates British Columbia's skilled trades system. Since the inception of TDSP, SkilledTradesBC has been there to support the growth and opportunities of equity seeking groups through both financial and educational support and guidance.

For more extensive information about SkilledTradesBC go to their webpage at

Funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement

Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation

Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation were instrumental in the creation and continual support of the Empowering Women in Trades initiative. Through this became Empowering Women in Trades. Their donation has supported over 250 women (and counting) working on continuing their education and careers in the trades. 

"The funding that you provided to help support me during my time at school is such a tremendous education and knowledge in this trade wouldn't be possible without the help from amazing people like the two of you. I unfortunately had some bumps in the road...and I just want you to know that getting this support from you both is beyond amazing, and I am forever humbled by incredibly selfless people like you two."

- Steph, Carpentry Apprentice

"I am grateful for you helping me pursue my dreams. I am passionate about mechanics...(and) am excited for what the Camosun College program has to offer and I am committed to commuting daily from Cowichan Bay to have this opportunity. Thanks to your support I will be able to make my classes...I am the only female out of my family and friends to go into the trades and I am very excited. Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and I plan to pay your generosity forward to those in need."

- Hannah, Automotive Apprentice

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous funding to help myself and others through trade school. I have three wonderful children and have had a passion for building since I was young. I am eager and excited to start the program...and I'm looking forward to starting the new journey and hope to help build a better world, inside out."

- Laura, Carpentry Apprentice

Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation supports women and Indigenous students in trades through financial bursaries. Through the support of the DPWF Empowering Indigenous Peoples in Trades initiative was created in 2021 and is the first of its kind at Camosun. Supporting Indigenous men and women interested in careers in the trades to continue their education to attain their Red Seal certification.

"Empowering Indigenous People in Trades Training helped me with my financial situation. Such as helping with parking, gas, and food. I even got help with...a tutor to work on my math so I feel more confident doing the work in the classroom. Thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation!"

- Sheldon

"Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation...without the funding I would have had to be working night shifts to make my income with my program being full time. I'm very grateful..."

- Anonymous Recipient

Weston Foundation

The Weston Foundation is no longer active, however, while the foundation was active it focused on supporting trades students from any demographics that did not qualify for other grants and scholarships available. Over the four years the Weston Foundation was active they supported and contributed to the success of an astounding 150 trades students. 

"I recently immigrated to Canada through the Tibetan refugee program from India. Growing up in India, we did not have a lot of opportunity even though we have a college degree...I got the chance to immigrate here and start a new life, and am taking this opportunity to start a career as an electrician...I would love to do something on energy saving and solar power. With this scholarship, I can solely focus on my studies for six months and feel a huge relief...I want to thank the Weston Foundation for their generosity in providing financial help for people in need and making out life more positive...I whole heartedly thank you all and promise to commit myself in this career goal..."

- Danny, Electrical Apprentice

"I am a single mother of two children age 7 and 6. Going back to school for Sheet Metal and Metal Fabrication came with financial obstacles. The biggest one being how I was going to afford before and after school care payments...(but) when I was awarded the Weston Family Scholarship, I knew my goals for a better life for myself and my kids were that much closer to being achieved...Your kindness has allowed me to gain friendships that have turned into family...I look forward to giving back to the community as you have done so for myself and other students. Thank you so much for your generous support..."

- Jessica, Sheetmetal Apprentice

"I am 39 years old with two young children and a lot of industrial/trades experience. After my separation...I ended in a high stress position running a company...I knew I needed a career that would allow for a work life balance and not burn me out...I'm not sure it would have been possible without it (your assistance) and I am committed to further mentorship with the foundation to help future tradespeople coming up. Thank you so much..."

- Jacob, Plumbing Apprentice

"For the past 8 years I have been living in Las Vegas, working as an acrobat. Earlier this year I tore my ACL. As a result, I had to quit my job and find a new career. Returning to BC and deciding to pursue woodworking as a career has been a big change. I am fortunate to have the support of my parents and the Weston Foundation. Without your support, returning to school would have been...financially challenging. Thank you again for your generous support. Life changes are challenging, but thanks to the Weston Foundation I know that I will able to start a new chapter in my life."

- Alia, Fine Furniture Apprentice

Follow the link below to see the positive impacts that the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades made across Canada

Weston Family Foundation Skilled Trades Report by WestonFamilyFoundation - Issuu

Skilled tradespeople are in constant demand, especially right now. If you are interested in contributing to help continue to support and work towards bridging inequalities within the Trades.

To learn how you can help support these incredible programs and students contact Alyson Dahl, CFRE, Advancement Officer for the School of Trades at