The Fort St. James College of New Caledonia campus was busy on June 22 as students in the carpentry program came to build bathroom mock-ups for the pipes trades students. As an added layer of cooperation, some of the framing was done ahead of time by Fort St. James high school students. Once the mock-ups are complete, the pipes trades students will fit them with plumbing and fixtures. Both programs are being run with funding from the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA).
The Carpentry Foundation program has Nadleh Whut’en, Metis and Stellat’en First Nations students under the instruction of Dallas Hall. With cooperation and assistance by School District 91, a training facility was created in the now vacant Fort Fraser Elementary School. The gymnasium was renovated in order to meet Industrial Training Authority (ITA) standards. It’s a win-win system as the School District is able to make use of the building and students do not have to travel far to attend school.
The Pipes Trades Foundation program includes students from both Nak’azdli Whut’en and Tl’azt’en Nation with Jess Fitzpatrick as their instructor. Students are provided training in plumbing, pipe-fitting, steam-fitting, and sprinklers. With this foundation, students are encouraged to enter in to one of the four areas as a specialization, working toward their journeyman and red seal tickets.
“These are all students involved in various training programs and they got together today for the first time. It demonstrates how small communities work together to get things done. Because Nechako has only a small trades shop in Fort St. James, we have only one trades program running at a time. The pipes instructor needed bathroom mock-ups for her students to learn how to plumb a bathroom. We had a carpentry program running in Ft. Fraser but no way to transport the mock-ups. So SD 91 helped out by having their carpentry students at FSJSS put together the framing and delivered the components to the Fort St. James campus. The carpentry students came from Ft. Fraser to Fort St. James in the morning and worked to put together all the components to create four bathroom mock-ups,” says Nicholette Prince, Regional Principal – Nechako College of New Caledonia, Fort St James.
Students enjoyed a special lunch with Karl Plautz, Associate Dean of Trades at the College of New Caledonia, Aimee Thompson and William Phangfrom PGNAETA, and Amelia Stark and Lynne Leon from NETS program at Nak’azdli Whut’en. They were also joined by the Academic Upgrading class who are currently working towards getting the credentials required to enter into either the next round of Carpentry Foundation or Pipes Trades Foundation in September. This upgrading was also made possible by PGNAETA funding. “It’s a special event when we are able to bring students together like this,” explained Regional Principal Nicholette Prince. “We have a very small campus and often have to find space to deliver programs so students are spread out. Today there is an opportunity for students to talk about their experiences in the different programs, share ideas and make connections. It really was a great day – very good energy and so wonderful to see these young people working hard,” says Nicholette Prince. PGNAETA has a mandate to provide training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in northern BC and has been working closely with First Nations in the region to determine training needs and finding funding. These trades are only part of the work they do throughout the area and many people have benefited from the various programs they have delivered or sponsored.
Karin Hunt, Executive Director states, “PGNAETA is pleased to support the Trades projects for Aboriginal citizens in the Fraser Lake and Fort St. James areas. Cudos to the team from Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat’en and the team from Nak’azdli Whut’en and Tl’azt’en Nation, assisted by CNC and Aimee Thompson, for their hard work in building customized and unique approaches to bringing training closer to home! We share the vision First Nations leaders have expressed toward preparing a skilled workforce for the future. Through the Industry Connections -Skills Partnership Fund, our Association will be in a position to continue to assist our citizens in their journey toward technical accreditation in the Trades.”
“PGNAETA has enabled CNC to deliver more trades programs than it could with only ITA funding,” agreed Karl Plautz. “It is great to see these young people entering into the trades, and getting ready to replace the aging workforce. Completing one of these foundation courses can set a person on the path to a good career.”
– with files submitted by Nicholette Prince, Regional Principal – Nechako CNC.