Reva Bond Ramsden
Dean, SAIT School of Construction
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) is a polytechnic institute that offers top-of-the-line tech-based training in trades.
SAIT proudly provides students and apprentices with current industry-standard curriculum in exceptional facilities. Their programs integrate in-class learning with practical, hands-on experience, giving their graduates a competitive edge. They have more than 30 trades programs adhering to the Alberta Industry Training guidelines, including electrical motor system technicians, carpentry, ironwork, welding, aircraft structures technician, auto body,
Plus, SAIT boasts various flexible learning pathways to support career growth. Their programs are available to anyone — to current apprentices who have their employer’s support, and to students who don’t yet have employment in a trade. SAIT has a superb pre-apprentice program to support these students through their education and employment search.
Most importantly, the school is dedicated to improving diversity in the trades by providing support for students who are female or from equity-seeking groups.
A welcoming environment
SAIT understands the evolution of trades, the importance of equity and diversity, and the vital role they play in shaping the future of these industries. “A diverse workforce, in any area, is more dynamic and prosperous,” says Reva Bond Ramsden, Dean of SAIT’s School of Construction. “It can’t just be all men or all women. It’s about bringing everyone together to collaborate, offer different perspectives, and make the workforce better.”
Recognizing the value in diversity, SAIT strives to provide students and apprentices with an inclusive environment. Their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy was created to ensure everyone on campus feels welcomed, supported, empowered, and valued.
The school even collected research about their own actions and data pertaining to inclusion and diversity. “We are assessing and checking our own work to make sure we’re as inclusive as possible, and to better turn strategy into action,” Reva explains. They’re developing network connections and systems to support this — one of which is the Women in Trades and Technology Committee (WITT).
Launched in 2015, WITT is focused on increasing the number of females in trades and technology programs. It offers its members the resources, training, and tools required to accomplish their goals, and it’s made up of apprentices, students, teachers, and industry professionals.
WITT provides mentorship programs in a one-on-one or group style and trains the mentors themselves. “A lot of our mentors are male. They’re coming to the table eager to participate and help diversify the workforce,” Reva adds. “They want to support their female colleagues.” WITT also strives to collaborate with other like-minded organizations.
SAIT wants to offer technology and skills-focused learning to anybody who’d like to learn a trade. “We pride ourselves on having hands-on learning that tests a student’s competency and skill,” says Reva. “That’s why we assign assessments to see if they can apply what they’ve learned. It’s less about acing a written test and more about being able to succeed on a job site.”
Graduate with experience
With thousands of industry partners and various scholarship opportunities, SAIT is committed to equipping their trades students and apprentices with ample support and professional training. “Once you get your foot in the door, look for a mentor you can learn from,” expresses Reva. “There’s lots of integration between trades. You will find your niche. Once you do, the opportunities are endless.”