B.C. trains Indigenous youth for building maintenance careers

A new program is helping train Indigenous youth for careers in the Lower Mainland.

An Indigenous trades student grinds a piece of metal.

An Indigenous trades student hones their skills. – Province of B.C.

Key Takeaways:

  • The province is contributing $575,000 to train Squamish Nation youth in North Vancouver.
  • Participants will get 23 weeks of training.
  • Those who complete the training will be able to identify, troubleshoot and perform maintenance and repairs on drywall, plumbing, roofing and carpentry, as well as other jobs.

Digging In:

B.C. is looking to help train Indigenous youth careers in building maintenance with a new program.

As many as 24 eligible people will receive employment skills to help them prepare for jobs as certified building maintenance workers in the Lower Mainland’s skilled trades sector.

The new provincial Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project focuses on training for Indigenous youth.

“This project creates employment opportunities for Squamish Nation youth and is an example of how government works with communities to deliver in-demand training for Indigenous people,” said Nicholas Simons, minister of social development and poverty reduction. “Participants who complete this program will also obtain building maintenance worker certification, opening doors to promising careers.”

B.C. will contribute $575,000 to the Squamish Nation to deliver skills and certification courses in two intakes of its Indigenous building maintenance worker training program in North Vancouver.

Program participants will get 23 weeks of training, including: five weeks of essential and employability skills training, 12 weeks of occupational skills training, four weeks of on-the-job experience with local employers and two weeks of followup support to assist in their job search.

Participants will also receive certification courses in personal protective equipment, Occupational First Aid, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS), confined spaces, ladder safety, fall protection, transportation endorsement, and excavation and shoring safety. In addition, the program includes a cultural component based on Squamish Nation traditions.

“Thanks to this funding, more Sk_wx_wu´7mesh youth can enrol in our building maintenance worker program and get the necessary certification and training to launch their career in the trades sector,” said Squamish Nation spokesperson Wilson Williams (Sxwíxwtn). “These high-paying, in-demand jobs set program graduates on a path towards a bright and successful future.”

Upon completion of their training, work experience, and the Level 1 building maintenance worker exam, participants will be qualified to maintain and repair residential buildings. The province stated that they will be able to identify, troubleshoot and perform maintenance and repairs on drywall, plumbing, roofing and carpentry, as well as other jobs.

“The Squamish Nation’s project will provide Indigenous students with the skills and experience they need to secure well-paying jobs in building maintenance,” said Andrew Mercier, parliamentary secretary for skills training. “I wish the participants all the best and look forward to working with other First Nations to provide more opportunities for Indigenous students in the skilled trades here in B.C.”

Full-time, group-based classroom learning for the second intake of this project started Aug. 15, 2022. Project activities run until Feb. 17, 2023. Officials encouraged anyone interested in finding out more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.


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