Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toolmaker Hilti Canada has donated $40,000 to support scholarships for participants who complete George Brown’s Women Transitioning to Trades and Employment (WTTE) program and move into a full-time trades program at the college. The donation will fund four student scholarships.
“We got an opportunity last fall to spend time with some of the program participants, and, as an organization, we are proud to be a part of supporting women entering the trades,” said Dan Wade, president and general manager of Hilti Canada
“We look forward to a new group of graduates and seeing where the skills and experience acquired through this program take them.”
Atheer Alhulwah and Samantha Bujtor both completed the WTTE program and are now studying full-time — Alhulwah in the one-year Construction Techniques program and Bujtor in the three-year Building Renovation Technology program. Both women experienced employment challenges due to the pandemic, completed the WTTE program and received Hilti scholarships to continue their training.
“I’m over the moon with everything. I’m very happy,” Bujtor said. “I love what I’m learning and it’s very empowering as a woman to imagine what we can do to change this field and to make it better. I’m excited to see what next semester is going to be like.”
Alhulwah said the WTTE program and the support from Hilti made it possible for her to further her training and launch a career in the trades.
“They made it happen for me,” Alhulwah said. “In your first step, you want to have support and you want to be confident. It’s good to know you have folks, especially women, who really want to support you. They really want us to succeed.”
Hilti also donated $40,000 in 2021 to help expand the WTTE program and provide graduates with a toolkit that included three power drills and other essentials.
“I still brag to people about it,” Alhulwah said. “Getting two full bags of equipment and having them before you really know how to use them was great motivation.”
The WTTE program, as well as her current program, opened Bujtor’s eyes to opportunities in sustainable building practices, both in terms of materials and financial viability.
“I’d like to do a lot of sustainable building, off-grid building and self-sustained homes,” she said. “And I’d love to help build homes that are attainable for lower-income families.”
And Alhulwah looks forward to a focus on carpentry in the short-term and has her eye on training to become an underwater welder further down the road. Do you identify as a woman, a gender non-binary or as a two-spirit person? You may be eligible to participate in the WTTE program, run by the Community Partnerships Office at George Brown College.