Minister of Infrastructure and Communities tours Fanshawe
Credit: ANGELA MCINNES
Federal Minister of Infrastructure Francois-Philippe Champagne interacted with instructors and students of the Donald J. Smith School of Building Technology during his visit to Fanshawe last week.
A Corporate Communications media advisory of the tour said that Champagne was visiting London to meet with community leaders and educators to see the impact of federal investments.
Champagne toured the School's construction and industrial labs and interacted with students and instructors along the way.
“My visit today was really to showcase that what Fanshawe is doing is essential to train the people we need tomorrow,” Champagne said. “My job is to make sure that people appreciate the contribution that the students and the people at Fanshawe do to create the Canada of tomorrow. We want to build 21st century infrastructure. In order to that, we need people.”
Champagne said his presence at the College was to extend a message of support for students and new employees in Canada's skilled trades industry. He added that it was also important for the federal government not only to create jobs, but also to make the industry more inclusive.
He praised Fanshawe for what he saw as its initiatives to do so.
“We know that women in trades is two per cent of the student body, and we want to do something about that. We should make sure that we engage everyone, so that everyone can find their place and I have to say that what Fanshawe is doing with respect to women in trade is cutting edge. It's leading the nation in how it should be done and how to approach it.”
Although Champagne looked over the equipment used to teach students of the College's carpentry and electrician programs, he said he was most impressed by the instructors he met.
“The teachers here, they share the passion. It's not just about the tools, it's the spirit,” Champagne said.
Leading the tour was Fanshawe's executive advisor and government relations, Anne Marie DeCicco- Best.
“The Minister of Infrastructure has an opportunity to see what we're doing with skilled trades because [the students] are the ones that feed into the kinds of companies and businesses creating infrastructure. They are creating our roads and creating our bridges and building things,” DeCicco-Best said.
After Fanshawe College, Champagne went on to view Blackfriar's Bridge and Western University's Engineering Building.