Student award a memorial to fallen workers
On Thursday, April 28th Canadians marked the Day of Mourning, a day set aside to remember men and women who died in their workplace, some who passed away as a result of hazards on the job. This year the national day had special significance at SAIT because the Calgary Day of Mourning organizing committee launched a new student award, the first of its kind in Canada. Chris Boeme, a third year student in the Bachelor of Construction Project Management program, is the first recipient of the new Day of Mourning Worker Memorial Scholarship.
"We decided to set up a scholarship because it's important to promote workplace safety among workers at the beginning of their careers," says Jennifer Foster, chair of the Day of Mourning committee. "The goal is to raise awareness among young people." Foster says students who apply for the award must write an essay on the importance of safety in the workplace. She says the committee decided to make the award open to all SAIT students because workplace safety is an important issue in all industries.
Boehme says he has family members who work in construction and he has first-hand experience with accidents. "I've worked on some construction projects myself and I have seen some people get hurt. People need to be properly trained in safety from the very beginning." In fact, he recalls a time he was injured while working when he was a teenager. It was a hand injury resulting from an accident with a staple gun. He says he would have benefited from better training on the equipment.
He says he's extremely appreciative of the award worth $1,000. He says receiving the scholarship has reduced his student debt and has helped him focus on his studies. "I was surprised to receive it," says Boehme. "I know there were many students who applied."
Foster says other Day of Mourning committees across Canada are considering establishing similar memorial scholarships at other post-secondary institutions.