Donors, Seaspan give $2.9 million to train BC's future shipbuilders

The following is the text of a news release from Seaspan:

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Seaspan, have announced a multi-year, multimillion-dollar investment in the future of British Columbia’s marine industrial sector.

The commitment totals $2.9 million and includes a three-year, $900,000 donation by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to three institutional trades training programs in Canada. This donation has been given in support of the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy program under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). The donation recipients include the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to support Aboriginals in trades, Camosun College to support women in trades, and the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation for both new welding equipment and teacher professional development.

In addition, the commitment also consists of a $2 million investment by Seaspan, announced earlier this year, to support innovative teaching and research for the naval architecture and marine engineering programs at the University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Faculty of Applied Science. The investment is a direct result of Seaspan’s value proposition obligations under the NSS.

“Seaspan is thrilled to honor four community and industry partners that are helping us develop and grow a shipbuilding and ship repair center of excellence in British Columbia,” said Jonathan Whitworth, CEO, Seaspan. “Innovation, leadership and world-class trades training are critical components of our vision of driving Canada’s marine industrial base on the West Coast. Today’s announcement demonstrates an unwavering investment in attracting, training and retaining the labor force and expertise we need to deliver on our NSS commitments.”

“These investments by Seaspan demonstrate the impact that the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy can have on the lives of Canadians,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “These investments will allow students to gain the skills they need to contribute to Canada’s economy. They will also ensure that our shipbuilding industry will have the skilled tradespeople it needs to excel and grow.”

The foundation’s three-year commitment will extend through 2018, while UBC will receive Seaspan’s multimillion-dollar investment over the next seven years.

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation’s charitable donations are among the organization’s largest direct donations of their kind in Canada. On July 25, 2013, Seaspan, on behalf of the foundation, announced a multi-year donation of $1.1 million for three B.C. marine and port community charitable organizations: Sail and Life Training Society, Vancouver Maritime Museum and Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue. Since its inception, the foundation and the Washington family’s personal contributions to charitable causes total more than $204 million in the United States to hundreds of organizations that focus on education, health and human services, arts and culture, and community service.

“Giving people the tools they need to succeed in life is a primary goal of the foundation and the partnership with Seaspan to promote access to state-of-the art training in the trades is directly aligned with the mission and goals of the foundation,” said Mike Halligan, executive director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

“BCIT is proud to support nearly 1,500 indigenous students on their unique educational paths each year,” said Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT. “In partnership with Seaspan, BCIT is pleased to launch the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Open Arms Project, which will open doors to trades education programs for an additional 100 Indigenous students over the next three years.”

“This is a breakthrough moment for women entering the trades. Camosun College’s new $35 million trades complex gives us the capacity for up to 1,000 additional trades students, many of whom will be women thanks to this generous support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation," said Sherri Bell, president, Camosun College. "Our $5 million TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign is transforming Camosun into the trades education powerhouse of the coast. This is a profound investment in Camosun College and generations of women who will launch rewarding careers in the skilled trades. Thank you for this bold commitment to the future."

“Providing students with a positive and safe welding experience at the high school level will help ensure the continuation of welding at the post-secondary level and then as a career choice,” said Deborah Mates, executive director of the CWA Foundation. “This generous donation from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan, will enhance welding programs at the high school level in British Columbia, with the hopes that these welding professionals will come right back to Seaspan to begin their welding journey.”

“Graduates from UBC’s master's programs in naval architecture and marine engineering are primed for careers leading ship design and shipbuilding operations throughout the marine sector,” said Marc Parlange, dean of UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science. “Seaspan’s investment supports our leadership in graduate education and research that will advance B.C.’s shipbuilding and marine industries into the future.”

By Professional Mariner Staff