MITT students, Prime Minister Trudeau, share roundtable discussion
March 27, 2019
When study break winds down and students at MITT and across Canada return to classes, the hallway chit-chat will no doubt include talk of what one did during spring break. Responses will cover a spectrum from ordinary (worked) to cool (went on a trip) to OMG!! in the case of nine MITT students who got some face time with Prime Minister Trudeau during a morning visit to Henlow campus on March 26.
Over the years, MITT has benefitted from its partnership with the federal government, which has included ongoing support for its ESL and MITT YouthBuild programs. When asked to host a Winnipeg event as part of the national tour for Budget 2019, MITT’s answer was yes. When the vision for the visit expanded to include a conversation between current MITT students and the Prime Minister, MITT’s answer was a resounding yes, please!
“When this idea was shared with us, we were immediately thrilled to put the spotlight on our incredible students,” says Ray Karasevich, MITT President and CEO. “And then to see how engaged and willing they were to share how their MITT experience is positively impacting their lives, well, that was something truly special.”
For 10 minutes Prime Minister Trudeau and students gathered around a worktable in MITT’s Industrial Mechanic/Millwright lab—first with media in the room to record the exchange, then in private for the duration—before the PM held a media availability in the adjacent welding lab. Michael Ashcroft (Motosport Technician), Natalie Bacon (Industrial Welding) and Holly Shimaro (CAD Technician) were among the participants. Here are some of their thoughts on the experience.
“It was good to have him here,” says Ashcroft. “I think [his visit] is a great experience for our school and it’s going to create more attention for MITT. I really like MITT and more people need to hear about it.”
“I think it was really interesting,” says Bacon. “He pulled out the point of how you can get $250 every year* and how, say after four years, you would have a grand you could use to go back to school to get upgraded in the new ways of the trade your in. I’m glad he came because otherwise I might not have known about that.”
*As part of the Federal Government’s proposed Canada Training Benefit, eligible Canadians can earn a non-taxable Canada Training Credit of $250 annually (up to a lifetime limit of $5,000) toward the cost of training fees.
“It was lots of fun, he was just a really cool guy,” says Shimaro, adding, “It was a pretty surreal experience. Not at all what I expected to be doing on a Tuesday morning.”