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OCOT presents first annual chair’s award winners

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TORONTO — The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) has announced the recipients of the first annual Chair’s Award of Excellence.

"All winners announced today are outstanding examples of how the College, our members and many stakeholders come together to promote and grow the skilled trades in Ontario," said Pat Blackwood, chair of the OCOT board of governors, in a statement.

"We are so proud to stand up and recognize the hardworking men and women in our apprenticeship system and across the skilled trades through this new award."

The winners are as follows:

• Algonquin College’s Apprenticeship Program: For their continued support of the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the trades, for encouraging the participation of people with disabilities and for hosting annual women in the trades events;

• College of Carpenters and Allied Trades: For their commitment to training pre-apprentices and apprentices, and for supporting thousands of men, women and underrepresented groups;

• Vince Kacaba, director of training, United Association Local 46, Plumbers, Steamfitters and Welders: For his mentorship and support of apprentices throughout their training, increasing apprenticeship completion rates, and for providing consistent training to a very high standard;

• Gail Smyth, executive director, Skills Ontario: For developing programs that elevate apprenticeships and skilled trades careers, including the Skills Ontario competition, Skills Works summer camps and in-school presentations. She is also recognized for her development of initiatives geared towards the inclusion of First Nations, Metis, Inuit and young women;

• Roy King, co-ordinator, Motorcycle and Powersports Program, Centennial College: For developing and supporting Centennial College’s pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program, assisting with the Red Seal exam bank and supporting apprentices as they prepare for their Certificate of Qualification exams;

• Katrina McFadden, vice-president, corporate administration and human resources ArcelorMittal Dofasco: For her dedication and guidance assisting apprentices with placements, offering support through programs and consistently providing the right tools for apprentices to gain Certificate of Qualification credentials.

• John Norris, executive director, Collision Industry Information Assistance: For his commitment to organizing Certificate of Qualification preparation courses and offering free of charge pre-apprenticeship orientations for those interested in becoming auto body and collision damage repairers;

• Stephen Speers, chair, Trades and Apprenticeship, Motive Power Trades, Conestoga College: For strengthening the motive power program at Conestoga College, establishing the International Technical Education Program and increasing the number of skilled trades recognized in Ontario; and

• James Bodanis, program co-ordinator with the Ontario Youth Apprentice Cook and Baker Program, Humber College: For his involvement in promoting and supporting the culinary trades, managing and supporting apprentice cooks and institutional cooks, and supporting students and apprentices in advancing their careers.

Nominations for the award were open from Feb. 27 until March 31 and the criteria included demonstrating outstanding support for apprenticeship in Ontario, including promotion, diversity, consistent training and completion; delivering innovative training and support for apprentices or demonstrating long-standing success in completion rates and outcomes; and demonstrating outstanding leadership as ambassadors to increase the sustainability and promotion of Ontario’s skilled trades.

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