May 18, 2021 – North Vancouver, BC, – Seaspan and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation have made major donations to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver and Camosun College in Victoria.
BCIT receives $450,000 to support The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Open Arms Expansion. $300,000 will directed toward the Career Exploration and in-class trades and technology program, while $150,000 will support the community-based technology program.
“Our vision of driving Canada’s marine industrial base on the West Coast requires the critical components of innovation, leadership and world-class trades,” said Mark Lamarre, CEO of Seaspan Shipyards. “This donation demonstrates a commitment and investment in our long-term success, to attract, train and retain the labour force and expertise we need to deliver on our National Shipbuilding Strategy commitments.”
“BCIT is proud to announce the continuation of our partnership with Seaspan and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation through their renewed commitment to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Open Arms Expansion grant. This funding will remove financial barriers to education while providing culturally relevant assistance for Indigenous students over the next three years. Students will be set up for success in pursuing a trade or technology career that best aligns with their area of interest, skill and ability. The project will utilize BCIT’s unique applied education model, allowing students in the program to gain technical skills, real world experience, and the problem-solving abilities needed to embrace complexity and lead innovation in a rapidly changing workforce,” said Jackie Jacob, Executive Director, BCIT Foundation.
A grant of $444,000 was also made to Camosun College, which will fund new bursaries and scholarships for women in trades and Indigenous learners, as well as specialized equipment and a soon to be developed micro-credential in marine welding.
The grant is part of the Foundation’s Diversifying the Tools for Success initiative. Of the $444,000 investment, $100,000 will be allocated annually for three years ($300,000 total) towards student scholarships and bursaries for women and Indigenous trades students. The funding will focus on wrap-around supports including tuition assistance, food security, childcare, work clothing and equipment, and more in order to help students thrive. Additionally, a one-time grant of $144,000 will go towards the purchase of advanced equipment including new marine welding booths and virtual training consoles.
“As the leading ship repair and conversion operation on Canada’s west coast, having diversity in our skilled workforce is critical to our success,” notes Joe O’Rourke, Vice President and General Manager, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards. “Camosun College has been an excellent partner to help more women and Indigenous students launch their careers in the marine industry and we are proud to continue our longstanding relationship.”
“Camosun provides diverse students with real-world skills to achieve success in a wide range of challenging and economically vital careers,” says Geoff Wilmshurst, Vice President Partnerships at Camosun. “We are grateful for this generous gift which will benefit students through new bursaries, scholarships and equipment with the aim of diversifying and expanding B.C.’s skilled trades workforce in the years to come.”
About the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies and the Washington Family. The Foundation strives to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the quality of their lives and to benefit society as a whole. Funding for the Foundation comes from personal contributions from the Washington Family and annual contributions from The Washington Companies.
Seaspan ULC is an association of Canadian companies focused on the marine economy, including ship repair, shipbuilding, ship assist, coastal and deep-sea transportation, ferry services and fuel bunkering. Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyard is a leader in complex vessel repair and conversion in the Pacific Northwest. Strategically located and with a highly skilled workforce, the company has a track record of delivering quality repair, refit and modernization projects for Canadian and international naval fleets, as well as for a variety of commercial vessels.
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