Les Mortimer flashes a huge smile and offers up a cheerful “hello” as he steps through the door, his one and a half-year old daughter and four year old son in his arms.
It’s a crisp, grey morning in March and Mortimer is stopping by the KLO campus to speak with the staff of the Okanagan College Foundation. Just the day before, he found out that he was selected to receive the 2015 Leo Plamondon and family Entrance Bursary for Trades.
After being awarded the $1,000 bursary cheque and taking a few photos, his children gathered around him all the while, Mortimer takes a few moments to explain what this award will mean for his family.
“It’s a huge help,” he says. “It will help cover daycare for them and other expenses. My kids are my biggest concern—they’re the reason why I’m going back to school.”
Mortimer, who will complete the plumbing program in July—only a few short months from now—explains why he left behind a career in the oil patch to raise his kids.
“I want to stay here, stay close to them,” he says, smiling at his son and daughter, as he lists off a few of the local employers he hopes to work for after completing his training.
Mortimer speaks enthusiastically about both the challenges and highlights of the program.
“I’ve encountered some of it before during my work in the bush,” he says, about some of the plumbing techniques and tools he’s currently learning. “So I had that advantage going in. But now I’m learning some of the how and why of things work, which is exciting.”
The Leo Plamondon and Family Entrance Bursary for Trades is awarded annually to a student who is entering full-time study in an Entry-Level or Pre-Apprenticeship Trades Training Program at Okanagan College. Mr. Plamondon enjoyed a successful career as a heavy duty equipment operator and is a strong believer in the importance of skilled trades people.
For more information about this and other awards available at Okanagan College, please visit http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/awards.