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Encouragement through tough times

Craig Befus was not having a good year but receiving a student award reinforced his decision to stay in school.

Craig Befus was not having a good year.

His wife was undergoing cancer treatment and they were coping with their two sons' chronic medical conditions. On top of that, Befus was laid off from his plumbing job.

But there was finally some good news. Befus, a third-year apprentice plumber, got word he had received a scholarship — the School of Construction Golf Classic in Support of Education student award.  

"With everything I was going through at the time," says Befus "I could have said 'this school thing is crazy, maybe I'll just go find a different job.' Then I was notified about the student award. It was a real pat on the back. It reinforced my decision to stick with school; to keep going."

More than dollars

Before going to SAIT, Befus, 35, held a series of jobs, mostly in banking but he says he didn't enjoy sitting behind a desk. A family friend suggested he should investigate the trades and that lead him to become an Apprentice Plumber. Shortly after starting classes, he learned there were student awards available and that SAIT offered Student Awards Application Labs where he could get more information.  

Befus says the money was extremely important and it came at a time when his family needed it, but receiving the award meant much more than the dollars.

"It was definitely overwhelming when I realized I got picked for this. I've heard of people receiving scholarships but then 'you' get picked and you feel like you won the lottery. The recognition was more important to me than the money. It was a message to me to keep pursuing my career."

Befus says his family's health and financial circumstances have improved considerably in recent months. He recently landed a new job. His long term plan is to start his own business and work flexible hours so he can spend as much time with his family as possible.

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