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Orano Canada pledges support for women's trades program at Sask Polytechnic

$1M gift supports WITT program.
Jim Corman, Larry Rosia and Allison Zerr announced a $1 million donation by Orano Canada to Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon Tuesday.

SASKATOON — Orano Canada invested in empowering the future for women in technical trades with a $1 million gift to Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Women in Trades and Technology (WITT) program Tuesday.

This investment will increase awareness and promote training opportunities for women in trades across Saskatchewan, according to the two organizations. The donation was announced officially in Saskatoon on Tuesday.

WITT works with instructors, employers, professionals and non-profits to build curriculum for camps, workshops and mentorship programs that teach women valuable skills, encourage women to think about different career options and address barriers that may limit women in trades and technologies.

“We pride ourselves on being an equal opportunity employer. Orano is committed to hiring more women at our McClean Lake operation, ensuring pay equity and advancing women to more senior and supervisory positions,” Jim Corman, president and CEO of Orano Canada said in a release.

“Supporting the WITT program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic will help to increase the awareness of career opportunities for women in the mining industry, as well as provide job links to trades that are accessible near their home communities. Orano Mining globally has a target of increasing the number of women in senior roles by 10 per cent annually between now and 2025. We need to be a part of that change.”

The partnership will bring expanded accessibility to WITT programming, including mentorship opportunities, customizable presentations and workshops and exploratory training sessions. Thanks to Orano Canada, WITT will be able to provide additional programming in rural and northern communities, helping to break down barriers and promote gender diversity in the mining industry. In recognition of Orano’s gift the program name will become WITT – Powered by Orano.

“Thank you to Orano Canada for your generous gift in supporting women entering the technical trades,” Dr. Larry Rosia, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, president and CEO said.

“This contribution will enrich the awareness of training and career opportunities in trades and technology for women in Saskatchewan. Our goal is to inspire and encourage the next generation of women and girls to consider trades careers, overcome limitation barriers and ultimately bridge the employment gap between men and women in these sectors.”

The $1 million Orano gift, disbursed over 10 years, includes an annual scholarship to an exceptional female student enrolled in a trades or technical program at Sask Polytech. This scholarship will help build a diverse, inclusive and qualified workforce for Saskatchewan’s trades mining industry.

“Women account for 47 per cent of the Canadian labour force, but represent only five per cent of the most in-demand trades across Canada,” Allison Zerr, WITT program head said.

“Jobs in these sectors are high paying. This significant contribution from Orano Canada will enable Sask Polytech’s WITT programming to support our female students in meeting their education and career goals. This partnership will open up doors to women interested in trades and apprenticeship training, and provide the supports to help ensure successful outcomes.”

The Sask Polytech WITT program has been offering camps and programming since 1991. Sask Polytech’s WITT program has evolved over the past 30 years, but the goal remains the same: encourage and assist women interested in trades and technology careers.



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