We regularly receive letters from trades students and graduates thanking us for our bursaries and financial support of trades training programs across Canada.
A recent letter from a British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Trades Discovery for Women Program graduate brought home the impact that this support can have on a student’s experience in school, and in their subsequent career. Following is a selection from the letter, used with permission from graduate Monique Song.
“My name is Monique Song. I attended Trades Discovery for Women Program in the summer of 2021. During this course, I discovered my passion for working with metal. Eventually, I decided to apply for the metal fabricator foundation at BCIT.
There was almost half a year until the next foundation program began. I was lucky enough to get a job in sheet metal in the interim. Utilizing the knowledge I learnt in Trades Discovery, I learnt very fast on the job and was praised by my supervisor as a "superstar apprentice".
In March 2022, I returned to BCIT for the metal fabricator foundation course. I'm now a welder fabricator working full-time at a specialty shop in the Lower Mainland. My three-month probation review turned out very positive, and my performance was at the top among all new employees at the same entrance level. I would attribute this success to your help. Your generous funding helped me start my job with the necessary equipment like a welding helmet and basic hand tools and helped me through the first month of rent since I had to relocate to be closer to this fabrication job.
There are many people like me who didn't grow up with a handyman father, who grow up in the city, sheltered. We didn't know how to use tools or how to fix things, let alone know that there is a career option in the trades. I was one of the "lost children" who couldn't see their worth in society, who asked "what's the use of me?". A brief introduction to the trades made me realize how fulfilled I felt after doing something with my own hands. I knew I wanted to be a tradie. I just didn't know which trade.
In my current job, I not only use fabrication knowledge, but also welding, joinery, sheet metal (HVAC), automotive and heavy-duty mechanics. Wonder how I was the only one in the shop who detected the hydraulic leak and fixed it? It was the brief exposure to a wide range of trades in the Trades Discovery for Women Program.
The intrinsic motivation this program gave me was also impactful. I was the one making the decision to join this specific trade. No one else was forcing me to do any one trade. When the motivation comes from inside, there's a deeper sense of ownership. I not only work hard but most importantly, enjoy every moment of it.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make this positive shift in my life. And I can't wait to get my Red Seal one day. Because of you, I am able to introduce myself loud and proud to anyone I meet: "Hi, I'm Monique, I'm a fabricator!"
Concert Properties has provided $10.8 million in funding to BCIT over the past three decades. This includes helping students like Monique, supporting the recent Jill of All Trades workshop for high school students, and donating $7.5 million to BCIT for the Concert Properties Centre for Trades & Technology.