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New program aims to attract Indigenous workers to skilled trades

DCN-JOC News Services
New program aims to attract Indigenous workers to skilled trades

AROLAND, ONT. — Constructionlab Ltd., a construction industry learning and professional development firm, has launched a training program delivering an Introduction to Construction Trades specifically focused on engaging Indigenous people and attracting them to a career in the skilled trades, particularly the roadbuilding and mining sectors. 

The program, which started Sept. 28 and consists of 10 days of learning, is first being delivered in Aroland, Ont. It was designed for Confederation College through an agreement with Minodahmun Development LP. 

Minodahmun Development LP is a 100 per cent First Nation-owned partnership created by Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation and Ginoogaming First Nation to maximize First Nation participation in development projects, indicates a release. 

A second 18-day program was designed to be delivered at Henvey Inlet and Magnetawan.

Derek Smith, president and lead facilitator for Constructionlab, will spend 46 days teaching in several First Nations communities, while other trainers determined by the college will provide in-class training for additional communities using Constructionlab’s program design. 

“To prepare for the training delivery, we were certified by First Nations University in 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, as well as the latest COVID-19 protocols for hosting the sessions in-person,” explained Smith in a statement. “It has been an amazing experience working with the college and Minodahmun. I believe I will learn a lot from this opportunity and adventure travelling through beautiful northern Ontario – and hopefully, we will be called on to do more future workforce development work.”

Constructionlab credits a long-standing relationship with the Construction Association of Thunder Bay for connecting the college with the southern Ontario-based professional development firm, adds the release.

The Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) is also supporting the program by supplying field notebooks for students.

“With a large percentage of the transportation infrastructure construction workforce retiring, there is a significant need to bring more skilled workers into the industry. Outreach and training will help bridge that gap,” stated Bryan Hocking, CEO of ORBA. 

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