SLC alumna wins Premier’s Award in Apprenticeship category

Melissa Phelan, Premier’s Award winner in Apprenticeship category. Photo by Bernard Clark., 2021 Premier’s Award Nominee.

St. Lawrence College (SLC) was honoured with seven nominations – one in each category – for this year’s Premiere’s Awards. One of those nominees, alumna Melissa Phelan, received the prestigious award in the category of Apprenticeship, and was celebrated during an online gala last night, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, to celebrate Ontario’s outstanding college graduates.

Melissa Phelan is a highly skilled welder and robotics weld programmer who has become a vocal advocate for women entering the welding industry and the trades in general, SLC said in a media release. Recognized as a woman to watch in the trades, Phelan is both a talented welder and technician and a leading voice within the Canadian manufacturing sector. Based in Kingston, SLC said that Phelan uses social media and online forums as a force for positive change. She is a confident millennial woman who uses her skills and experience to encourage, inform, and inspire the next generation of women in the trades, according to the release.

“I am so honoured to have won this award,” Phelan said. “I want to thank St. Lawrence College for nominating me, and to also congratulate all of my fellow nominees, you’re all amazing and I’m proud to be in your company. I am grateful for all the people who contact me to tell me I inspire them to get into the trades, it keeps me going to be able to do what I do.”

The Premier’s Awards recognize college graduates making important social and economic contributions to Ontario, and are administered by Colleges Ontario. A self-employed entrepreneur, Phelan graduated from SLC’s Welding & Fabrication Technician program in 2016, as well as Welder Apprenticeship levels I, II, III in 2015 from the Cornwall campus. Phelan is the first woman from SLC to win this provincial award.

“On behalf of the entire SLC community, I want to congratulate Melissa on her incredible win. Her passion for welding and for encouraging more people to enter the trades is inspiring,” said Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President and CEO. “I would also like to congratulate all our exceptional nominees for their contributions to their communities. The strength of all our nominees speaks to how SLC prepares our graduates for the careers they love.”

“Congratulations to Melissa on her win in the Apprenticeship category,” added Elizabeth Gorman, SLC’s Director, Development and Alumni Relations. “We are proud to see her recognized for her advocacy of women in the trades and for her many accomplishments in her young career. Melissa’s journey is a shining example of the rich and diverse careers SLC graduates pursue, and we are proud to share that with all of Ontario.”

St. Lawrence College congratulates all its 2021 Premier’s Award Nominees:

  • Business Award Nominee: Karyn Robarts, Founder and Partner, Robarts Spaces
  • Community Services Award Nominee: Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, Founder and CEO, Robyne HD Inc.
  • Creative Arts & Design Award Nominee: Bernard Clark, Photographer and Owner, Bernard Clark Photographer
  • Health Science Award Nominee: Christine Bruce, Senior Director, Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network
  • Recent Graduate Award Nominee: Clayton MacKinnon, Digital Marketing Specialist, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity
  • Technology Award Nominee: Fernando Ferrer, Founder and Director, Immutable Data

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