Youth explore resource industry careers

Create: 12/01/2015 - 19:40

First Nation students gain skills and certification in variety of courses through seven-week program
Lac La Croix’s Dylan Ottertail is looking to the future while participating in the 11th First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program.
“We explore lots of different careers,” Ottertail said during the 2010 Natural Resources Science Camp segment of the seven-week program. “We could make a good career out of this. We could go into the mining industry, forest industry.”
Ottertail also enjoyed learning about GIS mapping technologies during the science camp held Aug. 9-12 at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
“We’re making maps right now,” Ottertail said while working in a computer lab. “We’re copying all these points ... onto the computer.”
Ottertail was one of seven second-year students in the program this year. Twenty-five first year students also participated in the program, which provides First Nations youth aged 16-18 with an opportunity to work on forestry projects, receive workplace training and take personal development workshops.
“It was kind of interesting, working outside,” said Tamara Mcmillen, a second-year student from Lac Seul during the science camp.
Whitesand’s Bryan Thompson said the certificates and training he and the other students received through the program are good for their resumes.
He said students received training and certificates in emergency first aid, standard first aid, chainsaw and SP100 firefighting through the program.
“We learned how to make fire lines, how to use hoses, we got to connect slings to the helicopter. It’s a very good program,” Thompson said.
The science camp included courses in career planning, diabetes health, forest management planning and inventory, water and wastewater in the environment, soils, climate change and land use planning as well as presentations and tours of the college campus, Aviation School of Excellence, Lakehead University and AbitibiBowater’s Thunder Bay sawmill.
“It is great to see programs like the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program providing First Nations youth with hands-on experience with mining and forestry skills as well as other natural resource sector skills,” said Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle. “This training will ensure a brighter future for northern Ontario.”
Linda Jeffrey, Ontario minister of natural resources was also satisfied with the program.
“I am pleased the Ontario government can play an ongoing role in helping First Nations youth learn in a practical way about how best to protect our natural resources,” Jeffrey said. “This generation and generations beyond will benefit from the work students are doing through this summer program.”