Sponsored by MITT
As the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) continues to build its relationship with Indigenous communities in the province, training opportunities like its Construction Labourer Certificate program are providing Indigenous learners with skills and experiences that lead directly to employment opportunities.
The program was introduced with a simple objective—to provide a platform for Indigenous youth to learn about tools, construction materials, safety, work procedures and construction site layout, and gain valuable experience in the workplace. Students complete four months of hands-on and in-shop training before starting a practicum in the fifth month.
“Our goal is to ensure our students are confident in their abilities, and this goes a long way once our students understand the construction process and know how to use tools,” said John Einarsson, manager of MITT’s Aazhogan Training Initiatives. “Having baseline construction training is a perfect way to start toward a strong career.”
Einarsson confirmed the abundance of opportunities in construction, particularly with an aging workforce. “This program is a first step,” he continued. “Some of our students will pursue their goals in residential, others in commercial, some are interested in project management, others in safety and health. The possibilities are endless for a committed student with the right attitude!”
Open to Indigenous individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, the Construction Labourer Certificate program provides students with the fundamentals of construction and also focuses on specific areas, such as framing.
One unique aspect of the program is the Indigenous Focused Trades Math course. Recognizing that Indigenous Peoples use mathematical concepts in a very pragmatic way, MITT tailored the curriculum to bridge Indigenous culture with current mathematical thinking by integrating cultural activities into the math curriculum. Discussed areas include precision measurement while building structures, probability while playing games of chance, and shape and space concepts while making crafts and tools such as birch bark baskets.
Along with the in-class experience, students also take part in a work practicum placement. This paid opportunity gives participants real-world experience with one of the college’s industry partners.
“MITT has long prided itself on providing real-world opportunities to our students through work practicums. Across all of our programs, this experience has been the most valuable component for our students,” Einarsson said. “It is more than just an opportunity to apply their knowledge, students get the opportunity to showcase their soft skills. It really is a networking experience, and many of our students end up staying employed with their placement companies. I have heard that luck is when hard work meets opportunity—we just create opportunity.”
As one might expect, student response for the Construction Labourer Certificate program has been extremely positive. “So far, my favourite part of the program is coming to the school with a new challenge every day and, at the end of the day, having an answer to that challenge,” said Braydon Stevenson, now a Construction Labourer Certificate alumnus.
“I can take this with me to my future,” added Stacey Campbell, who is also a graduate. “If I wanted to build a house, I could use my skills in the construction industry to build the house. When I first came here, that’s exactly what I was thinking of—framing, construction [and] building a house.”
If you’re interested in applying to the Construction Labourer Certificate program, email email@example.com.
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