First Nations students explore jobs in natural resources
Summer program aims to help students prepare for mining and forestry industries
Posted: Aug 3, 2012 3:44 PM ET
Last Updated: Aug 3, 2012 3:34 PM ET
School's not out for the summer for students from 17 northern Ontario First Nations.
The 26 high school students, between 16 and 18 years old, are spending six weeks earning academic credits and gaining work experience through the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment program.
They spent the past week at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, taking workshops on water treatment, environmental monitoring, and forest management planning.
For the rest of the program, the students live at a base camp near Upsala, doing hands-on work and going on field trips.Noah Martin says he wants to work in the mining field. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)
"We want to give them training and opportunities in what's out there and what's in the labour market,” said Anya Scheibmayr, who supervises the program.
A recent visit to the Lac Des Iles mine wowed many of the students.
Even though he wants to work in the industry, this was the first time Noah Martin got a chance to see an open pit mine.
"It was a really big surprise. I didn't think it'd be that big,” he said. The teen from Fort William First Nation is familiar with the proposed development for the Ring of Fire and believes mining offers a bright future.
"I heard ... there's going to be lots of jobs opening up in the field — and lots of money to be made,” he said.Shann Paopayponpee takes part in a water treatment lab, but wants to work in forestry management. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)
Whitefish Bay’s Shann Paopayponpee was impressed by the mine too, but the 17-year-old said he has his eye on another sector.
"[I want to] look for a career in ... forestry management ... tree planting,” he said.
The program, which is in its 13th year, changes with the economy, Scheibmayr said.
"We've tried to tailor the program to what's happening in industry,” she said.
“So where it used to be really heavily forestry based, now we're trying to bring in a lot more of the mining aspect into it."
This year's program wraps up on August 16.
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