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May 27, 2016 8:59 AM

Trades & Apprenticeship awards celebrate student success

More than 150 industry and donor-sponsored awards, valued at $144,000, were presented to students at Conestoga’s seventh annual Trades & Apprenticeship Awards Presentation held May 25 at the Waterloo campus.

The presentation, which recognized outstanding student achievements in a variety of skilled trades areas, including motive power, construction and industrial, is believed to be largest trades and apprenticeship awards ceremony in Canada. It was attended by students, family members, faculty, donors and industry partners. 

Bryan Baeumler, the Gemini-award winning host of Disaster DIY, Canada’s Handyman Challenge, Leave it to Bryan and House of Bryan, and founder of Baeumler Quality Construction, delivered the keynote address.

“Congratulations on your awards, but remember that no one is going to hand you an award tomorrow unless you work for it. You’re starting over again now,” advised Baeumler. “Promise yourself today, and every day, that when you wake up you will be successful and that you will make the world a better place.”

Baeumler’s advice to students also included a few simple rules on how to achieve success in the trades. They included choosing a career you love, learning from mistakes, being honest and setting small goals to achieve every day.

Stephen Speers, Conestoga chair of Trades & Apprenticeship, also addressed the audience to thank donors and industry partners. Over the last seven years, more than $580,000 in awards has been directed to Trades & Apprenticeship students.

“If it weren’t for your support and generosity, this event would not exist. It’s truly gratifying to see your support of our students, our mandate and the college,” said Speers. “Many donors also support Trades & Apprenticeship programs by participating in one or more program advisory committees. The guidance and industry insights you provide through these committees is incredibly important to our school. Thank you for giving your time.” 

During the ceremony, Gail Smyth, executive director of Skills Ontario, presented Conestoga with the College Manufacturing Award. It recognizes excellence in manufacturing education and includes a $5,000 award, which will be used to administer scholarships in the college’s manufacturing programs. Smyth also thanked Conestoga and its president John Tibbits for ongoing support of the Ontario Technological Skills Competition, which will move from Kitchener-Waterloo to Toronto in 2017. Conestoga has served as host college of the competition since 1997. 

Conestoga is among the province’s largest providers of apprenticeship training, and provides pathways to success through pre-apprenticeship and foundational programs in a variety of trades areas for students to develop their skills and knowledge.

The School of Trades & Apprenticeship delivers a comprehensive array of skilled trades programs through campuses and training centres in Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Guelph and Ingersoll. For more information, visit the School website.

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