To begin, I would like to introduce myself: Paul Blankestijn, journeyperson carpenter, proud father, and longstanding member of SUTIL for the past twelve years. During this time, I have worked for Saskatchewan Apprenticeship as the manager of our Youth Apprenticeship Program, where we promote the skilled trades as a viable first choice career option to high school students. Each year, it seems impossible to imagine a busier season, one filled with more high schools, events, and student interaction. And yet, here we are: it is a pleasure to be able to report that 2019 has been our busiest season yet; travelling from September to December for a total of four months, to 82 high schools, attending 15 additional career fair events, and interacting with thousands of students along the way.
This year, I am extremely grateful for the team we have, and I use the word team lightly: we truly are a family who travel together through adverse weather conditions, attending events at early hours in the morning, and handle difficult situations at times. Additionally, I am continually blown away by the efforts of our PSE committee who organize our travel schedule, and especially this year, have made incredible efforts to provide inclusive opportunities to all areas of the province. A special thank you goes out to our communications committee, who have developed what I believe to be an exceptional website and line of contact to the schools we connect with each year.
In addition to this being the busiest travel season to date, SUTIL as an organization has also mirrored this growth as a result. SUTIL is now composed of 37 post-secondary institutions and 74 members in total, all of which are passionate about our mission statement. We have a variety of talent and creative minds on our team, and I look forward to seeing what they come up in terms of events and growing SUTIL even further in the future. Regardless of this, SUTIL will continue to provide upcoming graduates with many unique options and opportunities for their post-graduation plans.
On behalf of SUTIL as a whole, I can speak with confidence that we look forward to connecting with high schools across the province, bring information to students in order to prepare them for their future career paths. It is vital that students know just how many career opportunities exists, and that choosing a path that is right for them is one of the most important decisions they will ever make. We simply stress that having a plan is all it takes: a plan for after graduation, a plan to responsibly contribute to society, and a plan for a career that feels authentic. Whether this plan includes university, apprenticeship, carrying on a family business, or entering the workforce… this is mostly irrelevant. The plan, however, made with confidence and integrity, will always be the mission of SUTIL as a team.
SUTIL Chair 2019