New scholarships added to assist students with trade sector aspirations

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TRURO - The Municipality of Colchester is planning to provide three new scholarships this year to graduating high school students planning to pursue a career in the trades sector.

Coun. Bill Masters.

The new scholarships, each valued at $1,000, will be made available to students graduating from the Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro, North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche and South Colchester Academy in Brookfield with plans to pursue a higher education through trades training.

"I definitely want to see the trades involved in here," said Coun. Doug MacInnes during council discussion.

A number of councillors agreed, including Deputy Mayor Bill Masters.

"I think the trades side of it is a great thing because we've got a lot of university graduates who are sitting there with no jobs," he said.

"You give me a diesel mechanic and I'll have a job for him tomorrow. And the same with a bricklayer or any of those. Those are the jobs right now that we seem to have lost out west and when the vocational schools closed, we created a monster."

Another stipulation with the new scholarships is that they cannot be received by students who are receiving other bursaries.

"I'd really like to see someone get a scholarship that doesn't get five other ones," Masters said, prior to that condition being added.

The new scholarships will be in addition to five existing awards, each valued at $1,000, that the county provides to graduating high school students each year.

In the past, the municipality's scholarships could only be awarded to students who live within Colchester County proper, which meant a student with a Truro address would not be eligible. That condition, however, is being eliminated.

And council further directed staff to look at the criteria surrounding scholarship eligibility, with the aim of having the applications come directly to the municipality, instead of having the awards decided through the schools.

"I would like to see a different set of eyes looking at our applications," Coun. Tom Taggart said.

But not everyone agreed with that proposal.

"I really think the schools need to be involved here (in the decision making)," said Coun. Mike Cooper. "They know these kids."

Organizations: Cobequid Educational Centre, North Colchester High School, Tatamagouche and South Colchester Academy

Geographic location: Truro, Brookfield, Colchester County

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