SD63 Receives Equipment and Training Grant

by Stu Rhodes – 

During a recent ceremony hosted by principal Peter Westhaver at Claremont Secondary School, the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation and the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan unveiled their most recent contribution to the Saanich School District.

The District will share a $300,000 equipment and training grant with three other school districts over the next three years: Sooke, Victoria, and North Vancouver. The announcement and unveiling showcased significant contributions made to Claremont, Parkland and Stelly’s Secondary schools.

CWA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Canadian Welding Bureau Group (CWB Group) and their mission is to identify and support educational initiatives that will help meet the needs of the welding industry now and into the future.

In addition to the amazing equipment provided, CWA Foundation has made a commitment to providing professional development for Saanich Tech Ed teachers to ensure they are well versed and confident in the use of all the apparatus.

William Clewes, Operations Manager from Seaspan, noted how pleased they are to be a part of this initiative. He made a commitment to explore the possibility of introducing high school welding students to the culture of the workplace at Seaspan.

It should also be noted that CWA Foundation recently joined forces with CSETS (Coast Salish Employment Training Society) and together were instrumental in supporting a “Mind Over Metal” welding camp for Indigenous students in the Trades Awareness, Skills, & Knowledge Program offered at the Saanichton Individual Learning Centre this fall.

The formalities of the announcement were followed by a trip to the metal shop where Tech Ed teacher Les Lowe had students showing off some of the new equipment. The entourage of dignitaries in attendance were able to see first hand the benefits of putting this sort of new equipment into our schools. Mitch Sarton, a grade 12 student had this to say: “How do you know if you might like welding if you never get to see it?
We can really see it now!” Mitch has his sights set on an apprenticeship as a heavy equipment technician but fully understands how beneficial it will be for him to be “that guy” in the heavy duty shop that can actually weld as well. Claremont has several other students who are candidates for the next intake of the Welding Foundation program offered to Saanich students in partnership with Camosun College.

Peter Westhaver summed it all up when he expressed his gratitude and said: “Any time industry comes knocking on our door and wants to partner with us to enhance the learning opportunities for our students, we’re going to invite them in for a chat.” Saanich School District is very grateful for these generous contributions.

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