$15 million province-wide investment to fund scholarships for construction careers

Published on October 18, 2022

In response to Alberta’s ongoing trades shortage, residential homebuilders are laying a strong foundation to help build the next generation of skilled tradespeople, thanks to a $15 million investment campaign announced on Oct. 18 by Jay Westman, Chair and CEO, Jayman BUILT.

Homebuilders are facing one of the largest construction challenges they have ever experienced, putting home affordability at risk in Alberta. This campaign was created to address the current and future need for skilled tradespeople to improve the industry’s capacity to build homes.

This fall, Westman challenged industry peers and community leaders to match funds raised to establish the BILD Alberta Scholarships for Construction Careers initiative. The challenge has surpassed the initial $3 million goal — including $2 million generously donated by Westman. With contributions from other leaders in the homebuilding community, including notable investments from Homes by Avi and Anthem Properties, more than $7 million has been committed. Today, Westman announced he will chair a major investment campaign to reach his goal of $15 million.

Tuition for apprentice and diploma programs at NAIT and SAIT can surpass $5,000 for a four-year program. This initiative could fund approximately 3,000 awards for NAIT and SAIT homebuilding apprenticeship and pre-employment students with preference given to demographics underrepresented in the industry. These student awards will cover the full range of residential construction careers, including carpentry, plumbing, sheet metal, electrician, bricklayer, cabinet maker, roofer, drywall, glazier, insulator and painter, for example, and will help workers on a pathway to their journeyperson certifications.

A portion of the funds will also be dedicated to engaging high school students, and enhance skilled trades development in the province by building awareness of rewarding careers in the skilled trades.

The BILD Alberta Scholarships for Construction Careers will see Alberta's top polytechnics collaborate to support the future of trades education and careers, by ensuring individuals with diverse backgrounds have an opportunity to gain skills that will shape the construction industry for decades.


"NAIT thanks Jay Westman for his generous commitment to students in construction careers. This is an investment in Alberta’s future. The BILD Alberta Scholarships for Construction Careers and youth engagement programs funded through this investment will pave the way for larger and more diverse enrollment in training for construction careers, ultimately helping to meet Alberta's labour demand. Supporting student awards not only removes their financial barriers, but also gives them the help and encouragement to succeed and make a real difference in their chosen field." - Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT President and CEO

“The shortage of skilled labour is the largest single issue our industry has ever faced, extending build times for new homes and putting at risk home affordability in our province,” said Jay Westman, CEO and Chairman, Jayman BUILT. “I have chosen to lead by example and lead this investment campaign to make a notable impact in overcoming the financial concerns of students, while also bolstering our industry’s much-needed construction capacity across Alberta. This is an Alberta initiative with an Alberta solution.”- Jay Westman, Chair & CEO, Jayman BUILT & JWI Investments

“Careers in skilled trades provide important contributions to our communities and Alberta’s growing economy. We are thankful to once again see the homebuilding industry come together to elevate trade programs and support student success. Through this funding, SAIT students will have access to a scholarship program focused on building equity in the construction trades, and programming to engage with youth will foster an early interest in skilled trades. We would like to acknowledge Jay Westman for championing this initiative to support education in the trades and celebrate the success of students working in industry.”- Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With over 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

Media inquiries

Nicole Graham
NAIT Media Relations
C 780.916.8307 E media@nait.ca

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