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Electric Grinder




“As a woman in the trades, I can tell you that my career in a male dominated field was very hard, especially at a time when there were little to no women in the trades. Although our numbers are growing and things are improving, there is still a lack of training opportunities. In the province, there are only a handful of WIT programs running every year. These are usually only offered in the city, and they fill up fast, leaving no opportunity for women on reserve. I remember starting school for pre-employment carpentry and not knowing what a stud was, or how to read a tape. I also was the only woman in class, and to not know the very basics was embarrassing for me, almost to the point where I wanted to quit. I didn’t have family in the trades and was never exposed to hands on skills at a young age, so to be able to offer this to women and give them that boost of confidence I know is central to their success in pursuing trades careers.” 


“Growing up on the reserve I know sometimes there isn’t a lot to look forward to in the sense of activities. Besides summer games, there really wasn’t much else. I wanted to be able to do something hands-on with youth in the community to encourage them to come out of their shell  and boost their self-confidence, by teaching them how to build something with hand and power tools. I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the GETT Camp (Girls exploring trades and technology) with SaskPolytechnic, seeing the girls faces and how much they enjoyed working in the shop and with the tools made me think about how much I wish I had something like this when growing up.”


“The lack of shops in Indigenous communities makes it hard to give students the exposure needed to make a decision on whether a career in the trades is right for them. Through the “Intro to Carpentry” Program, they acquire the skills needed to gain summer employment; also, should they participate in the SYA Program, they will have completed 3 of the 12 challenges needed for the program (registration fee waived, first year of training waived, 300 trade time hours and eligibility for their $1000/Scholarships). I also provide assistance to the schools for SYA School Registration, and work with the community on creating summer student employment positions with local contractors to build on these skills and experiences.”


“There are huge problems many reserves face, one of the most common is lack of housing and poor quality of existing housing. As a contractor, I know there is limited funding when it comes to home renovations. Contracts are often given out with the cost of labour and materials together, and with the inflation of lumber and materials, it makes it hard for contractors to make any money, resulting in them using cheaper materials. By using cheaper, or secondhand materials, the quality and longevity of the homes is greatly reduced. I want to work with the community on ensuring larger home renovations are being done correctly, that all money allocated for that project will be put towards good quality materials, and leverage the opportunity to train people in that community on home renovations. This is also a great way to introduce their members to the trades and get a list of committed students, should they decide to invest in a Pre-Employment or Level 1 Trade Program. I believe if students get a chance to try a shorter program beforehand they can make a more informed decision on whether a career in trades is right for them. By gaining this experience and knowledge, there is a great potential for higher completion rates for on reserve trades programs”


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