Fundraiser honours skilled trades supporters in Ontario

Thursday March 19, 2009
Written by
By Mike EdwardsKITCHENER, Ont. - The 8th Annual Building Futures One Dream at a Time Fundraising Dinner & Silent Auction, presented by Skills Canada - Ontario, attracted a sold-out crowd in Kitchener, Ont., earlier this month.
Each year, proceeds from this event are earmarked for the Skills Canada - Ontario Bursary. Since 2002, this bursary has provided financial assistance for close to 420 competitors travelling to Canadian Skills Competitions.

The event also marked the Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame awards presentations by Skills Canada - Ontario. This year there were seven Hall of Fame inductees, including Christian Kalemba, retired president of Festo Inc. in Canada, and Dr. John Tibbits, president and CEO of Conestoga College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ont.

Kalemba was nominated for the award by Ian Howcroft, with the Canadian Manufactures & Exporters, and by Laurent Thibault, treasurer of the WorldSkills organization.

Christian Kalemba

"Chris is one the few chief executives who has consistently spoken passionately about the need to support skills training at a high level," said Thibault. Added Howcroft: "As a leader in manufacturing, [a] promoter of skills, and supporter of Skills Canada - Ontario and the mechatronics contest, Chris has made an enormous contribution to the lives of young people in Ontario...During this challenging time, it is even more important to recognize his contribution. Canada still needs to have a skilled workforce and has to maintain its training programs."

Dr. John Tibbits
Dr. Tibbits was a member of the Board of Directors of Skills Canada - Ontario from 1997 to 2001. Conestoga College has been Host College for the Ontario Technological Sills Competition since 1997 and Dr. Tibbits supports the college's ongoing financial and in-kind commitment to the skills competitions. While worried about Canada's manufacturing sector, he said that recent federal and provincial retraining programs have helped to increase enrolment at Conestoga College.

Skills Canada - Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that promotes careers in the skilled trades and technologies to young people in Ontario as viable, first choice career options. More information can be found at

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