Students entering trades at Okanagan College will have a solid foundation to build from as a result of three new bursaries established by MQN, a local architectural and interior design firm. The MQN Architecture and Interior Design Awards for Vernon Trades provide two annual $750 bursaries for any student entering a trades foundation program. A $1,000 bursary will be awarded annually to a woman entering a trades foundation program. “We believe in mentoring and teaching the next generation of designers and tradespeople. When looking at how we could do more, we decided to provide financial support was the missing piece,” says Dora Anderson, a partner at MQN. “Had we not been given a hand up or support when starting out in our careers, who knows, we may not be here today.” MQN is one of the largest architectural firms in the B.C. interior. The firm was the architect for the College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon. Anderson says MQN sees first-hand the need for more skilled tradespeople in the Okanagan, making the opportunity to work on the Vernon Trades Centre a special contribution to our community. “For students to see that they can get trained and stay home and support their community is pretty exciting,” she says. Anderson adds that creating women in trades bursary was particularly significant for her and other female staff at MQN. When MQN started it was all male partners. Today the firm is managed by two male and two female partners. “It’s a huge honour to give a hand up to another woman who aspires to push ahead in a field that is typically a male-dominated environment,” says Anderson. “With this bursary, we want women to know that there is a place for you in this industry and a place for you to excel.” “Not only do we have a have leading-edge trades training facility in Vernon but a growing eco-system of support for students looking to enter these fields,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President. “We are thankful to MQN for their generous gift, which will go a long way in helping build the local trades community.” The Vernon Trades Training Centre was recently recognized with an Award of Excellence for Best Institutional Project by Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards. MQN also designed Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning, located on its Kelowna campus.