$1.28M gift supports B.C. women training in the trades

The funds will go towards providing additional financial support to aspiring tradeswomen.

Camosun College Women in Trades

Camosun College offers training for 20 trades in Victoria, B.C. – Camosun College

Camosun College just received a massive funding boost to help aspiring B.C. tradeswomen. 

The college announced they have received a $1.285 million gift to help open the doors to more women pursuing a career in a range of Red Seal trades programs.

The donation comes from the Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation. It 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.”

In 2017, the Foundation made a $1,000,000 pledge to create program. Camosun officials said the second pledge will ensure the program will continue to grow and support women over the next five years. 

“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.”

Trades students at Camosun College receive instruction for working with metal. – Camosun College

School officials explained that 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. 

“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.”

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. 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.”

Camosun offers apprenticeship training in 20 distinct trades, including 12 trades with the Interprovincial Red Seal Endorsement.


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