Written by Jeff Green
A construction worker training course co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence College Employment Centre in Sharbot Lake and the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, is wrapping up this week, and Chief Doreen Davis is pleased with the results.
The 8 week course was designed for self identified indigenous youth (under 29) interested in learning carpentry skills and work-site safety. Local contractor Kevin Rioux supervised the trainees, who received boots, hats, tools and belts at the start of the course, took some training courses, and then began to do some renovations to the Shabot Obaadjiwan offices on Hwy 7 just east of Arden.
“Not only did they completely re-do our boardroom and add a small office and shelving, they also did some work on the exterior building and built a brand new storage shed,” said Davis, “We paid for the materials but they provided all the labour. It was more than we originally talked about getting done and it helped the participants learn skills. Many of them have jobs lined up after the course ends.”
Kevin Rioux said that the shed they built was finished as a house would be finished, not only to make a good product, but to provide for more of a learning opportunity.
“They really progressed during the course,” said Rioux, “and I have enjoyed teaching it as well.”
Chief Davis said that the Shabot Obaadjiwan is planning to apply once again to host a program in the future, either at their offices or their nation site on White Lake, where they have built a large meeting hall and have plans for improvements and ancillary structures.
“These projects help us, they provide skills for our youth in a field where there are jobs, and they are good for the local economy because we buy all our materials at the Home Hardware in Sharbot Lake,” she said.