A recent $100,000 donation to SIAST will help get more women and mature students in the trades.
“It’s incredible,” said Pam McLellan, director of donor and alumni relations at SIAST. “I think (companies) realize by investing in SIAST, they’re also investing in the future workforce of our province and in Saskatchewan’s future.”
SIAST announced the donation of $100,000 from Wally and Colleen Mah of North Ridge Development with headquarters in Saskatoon. Students and apprentices in any campus in the carpentry, electrician, plumber, and refrigeration and air conditioning programs can apply for the newly created North Ridge Development Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Awards.
SIAST Palliser Campus in Moose Jaw has all of the above listed programs. Special consideration for the awards will be given to mature students and female students.
“That’s very, very important to note with this donation because it also speaks to the Mahs’ vision to where Saskatchewan’s skills trades people are going to be coming from in the future, that the world is changing and everybody has to look at growing that pool and skilled labour in innovative ways,” said McLellan.
There will be six awards given out each year starting this fall. Each award is worth $2,000. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education will match the value of the awards under the Saskatchewan Innovative and Opportunity Scholarship Program, which doubles the value of the donation to $200,000.
“It will impact generations of SIAST students to come,” said McLellan. “Twenty years from now, 30 years from now these awards will still be available and that’s a wonderful legacy to the Mahs.”
Having the awards in place will provide much-needed financial support to students because it can be a “long and difficult road for students” financially, she said.
“Particularly with mature students, if they need to leave a workplace in order to come to SIAST and get a particular skill set, it means they’re walking away from some income and that can be difficult for them and it can be difficult for their families,” said McLellan.
“I think when it comes to women and trades and technologies, certainly that encouragement and recognizing that there are people and there are companies out there that are advocating for women in the trades of technologies and willing to provide that financial support, I think that that’s very encouraging to them.”