Supporting NAIT students on several fronts

Published on January 24, 2023

NAIT’s construction department head educates, administrates and gives 

From student to department head, Colin Ruthven has devoted his career to giving back at NAIT and paving the way for students to succeed.  

“The skills and training I received at NAIT put me on a career path leading to financial security,” he says. 

Ruthven graduated from NAIT’s Industrial Heavy Equipment Technology program in 1986 and Red Seal Heavy Duty Mechanic program in 1989. He began working as a Heavy Equipment Technician instructor in 2005, later continuing his training to receive his Blue Seal in 2012 and his Bachelor of Business Administration through the JR Shaw School of Business in 2017. He has been Head of NAIT’s construction department in the School of Skilled Trades since 2016.  

Ruthven has supported NAIT it Forward through donations since 2014 and has been involved with the NAIT it Forward committee, raising funds for student awards, resources and supports since 2017.  

“When you’re on campus, you can feel the buzz and the energy of the students who are starting on their own career path through the training and skills we provide. It’s exciting to be a part of that, so supporting programs like NAIT it Forward and United Way are just ways to give a little bit back to the students.”  

Ruthven says he believes that supporting students in need begins well before they arrive at a post-secondary. That’s why he’s also a passionate supporter of United Way programs that help young learners to realize their potential and pursue post-secondary education.  

“If students are successful, we’re successful!”

Seeing first-hand the impact that financial stress can have on students and their success, Ruthven says it means a lot to him to be able to help.  

“I’ve seen students who are struggling to pay their rent or put food on the table. To see them have that weight lifted off their chests with a scholarship or funding so they can finish their semester, get their diploma and go on to a career – it’s very rewarding.”  

For others who want to help, Ruthven encourages people not to underestimate the positive impact you can make on the lives of students through financial support, adding that the benefits work both ways.   

“It’s so easy, especially if you do a payroll deduction. You don’t miss it and at the end of the year, you get a tax deduction. I, for one, would much rather see a few extra dollars going to help one of our students than me paying more taxes.”