Developer donates $1M to Okanagan College trades program

Developer donates $1M

Kelowna-based developer Highstreet has donated $1 million to Okanagan College’s trades and apprenticeship programs.

The gift will help provide financial support for students starting an entry-level trades program via 13 annual bursaries of $6,500.

“Full ride” bursaries are rare for an OC trades program — and Highstreet hopes it will incentivize more students to explore the field.

“This is about giving back to an industry we love and encouraging high school students and young people to see a trades education as just as valuable as a university program,” says Scott Butler, Highstreet CEO.

Butler said many people enter trades in their 30s after exploring different careers. The bursaries will try to make trades a first career choice.

“The trades can be an amazing career path,” said Highstreet President, Christina Wilson. “There are so many different avenues you can take — it could be in a leadership role, project management, or even owning your own business. There are so many opportunities.”

Also benefiting from Highstreet’s donation will be the annual trades camps that are part of CampOC each summer. These week-long day camps introduce students in grades 4-6 and 7-9 to areas including carpentry, metalworks, electronics, culinary arts and more.

Okanagan College president Neil Fassina thanked Highstreet for the donation.

“We want to acknowledge how much of an impact Highstreet is making with this inspiring gift,” he said.

“Not only are they removing barriers for OC students, but they are championing the skilled trades and recognizing how these professions contribute in our communities. It is extremely affirming for our students to see a local business make an investment in trades as a career choice. We are beyond grateful to their vision and generosity.”

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