CALGARY, ALTA. — A $15 million investment campaign has been announced to fund scholarships for careers in Alberta’s construction industry.
The campaign was created to address the current and future need for skilled tradespeople and improve the industry’s capacity to build homes, a Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) release said.
The campaign was announced at SAIT by Jayman BUILT chair and CEO Jay Westman who said “the shortage of skilled labour is the largest single issue our industry has ever faced, extending build times for new homes and putting at risk home affordability in our province. I have chosen to lead by example and lead this investment campaign to make a notable impact in overcoming the financial concerns of students, while also bolstering our industry’s much-needed construction capacity across Alberta. This is an Alberta initiative with an Alberta solution.”
Westman issued a challenge to industry peers and community leaders to match funds raised to establish the BILD Alberta Scholarships for Construction Careers initiative, which has passed its initial $3 million goal, including $2 million donated by Westman.
“With contributions from other leaders in the homebuilding community, including notable investments from Homes by Avi and Anthem Properties, more than $7 million has been committed,” the release stated, adding Westman said he will chair the campaign to reach the $15 million goal.
“Through this funding, SAIT students will have access to a scholarship program focused on building equity in the construction trades, and programming to engage with youth will foster an early interest in skilled trades. We would like to acknowledge Jay Westman for championing this initiative to support education in the trades and celebrate the success of students working in industry,” SAIT president and CEO Dr. David Ross added.
The campaign, if fulfilled, could fund approximately 3,000 awards for SAIT and NAIT homebuilding apprenticeship and pre-employment students with preference given to demographics underrepresented in the industry, the release stated.
The student awards will cover the full range of residential construction careers, including carpentry, plumbing, sheet metal, electrician, bricklayer, cabinet maker, roofer, drywall, glazier, insulator and painter and will help workers on a pathway to their journeyperson certifications, it added.