THUNDER BAY - A new Ring of Fire-focused trades program represents an important opportunity for Earl Taylor.
“I have a family to take care of and support,” says the 27-year-old. “I just want to get out there and get working.”
Taylor will be going into the pre-trade carpentry program offered through the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance. The program had its official launch Tuesday at Confederation College and will feature five pre-trade programs.
Also included through the initiative are electrical, plumbing, heavy duty equipment mechanic and construction craft worker programs.
Once the program finishes, 196 of the top students out of the 260 in the program could be employed within the Ring of Fire mining community. All of the students enrolled in the 12-week program are from the nine Matawa communities.
“I’m very glad that they picked me for this,” Taylor adds.
Don Bernasky, the vice-president of Regional Workforce Development at Confederation College and emcee for the program's launch, said the other 64 students will be able to go through the employment agencies of Confederation College and Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services.
Bernasky called Tuesday’s launch "a significant milestone" for the training alliance.
The course will feature 25 hours of training per week. Half of that training will feature hands-on work with the other half focusing on theory.
"There's a range of challenges in terms of just academics," Bernasky said. "The program is designed to provide a foundation, to develop the skills for those workers. As they move forward, then it's more the applied side, but it's a balance of the actual hands-on to the theory."
Caitlin Cheechoo, 20, is another student who is aware how important of an opportunity the new training program could be.
“I heard about the Ring of Fire and I heard about everyone signing up for all these programs … I thought it was too late to even get into anything,” she says.
“It's a really good program. Lots of people are trying to get into this and it actually filled up really quick, so I'm actually super happy."
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