Photo credit: Adam Scotti
For the women of YWCA Trade Journey, this visit from the Prime Minster meant the world.
For our board and staff, it meant we are on the right track with programs we are building.
It was a surreal day in mid-April when YWCA Saskatoon received an inquiry from the Prime Minister’s advance team about services we offer. The advance team scouted out the YWCA 25th street location, and explored all of the programs we provide as a multi-service community based organization. Our pilot project, Trade Journey, captured their interest in particular.
Trade Journey assists women interested in careers in the trades, and helps them earn the skills necessary to be successful in a male-dominated field.
After quiet planning and preparation, a visit from Prime Minister Trudeau transpired. The Prime Minister would be visiting Saskatoon, and we were asked to set up an interactive tour with the women participating in Trade Journey.
Because the Prime Minister was hoping to meet participants and be part of hands-on training, we reached out to our partners at Saskatchewan Polytechnic to facilitate a tour in one of their shops. The team leapt to action and coordinated the many details necessary for space for the Prime Minister’s visit.
On Wednesday, April 27th I had the distinct honour, with Saskatchewan Polytechnic President Larry Rosia, to welcome Prime Minister Trudeau and showcase YWCA Saskatoon’s Trade Journey Program. We ushered him from the motorcade into the plumbing shop where the participants and small gallery of observers eagerly awaited his arrival.
That afternoon, Prime Minister Trudeau spent time meeting the women in Trade Journey, moving from one work station to another, getting his hands dirty and participating in plumbing training side by side with the women. He was generous with his time, speaking with each of the women, instructors, funders, and guests, taking nearly endless photos until everyone was satisfied.
We are excited and hopeful that the visit from the Prime Minister will raise the profile of a program we believe in, and strengthen our efforts to secure sustainable funding. Our vision is to move YWCA Trade Journey from a pilot project to become one of YWCA Saskatoon’s core programs.
Funding for YWCA Trade Journey was provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy – Labour Market Services, Status of Women Canada, United Way of Saskatoon, BHP Billiton, and private donations. YWCA Saskatoon partnered with the Saskatoon Construction Association and Saskatchewan Polytechnic to deliver the program.