Launched this spring, the firm’s leadership intensive field training (LIFT) is a training and development program for its supervisors.
“The training is pretty innovative, where we place the learners in an environment where they are actually managing projects. These projects are what we are building for the various charities,” said Brady Bagwan, district human resources manager for the company.
Two Kapuskasing charities benefited from the two-day training programs. The North Eastern Ontario Family and Child Services received a shed and 25 bunk beds for Camp Cadanac, a children's summer camp.
The Aboriginal People's Alliance-Northern Ontario received some finishing work such as painting, a new vinyl kitchen floor, kitchen countertop and cupboards for its Community Action Program for Children, a program that supports the healthy birth and development of off-reserve Aboriginal children.
A total of $45,000 in materials and labour was donated for both charities.
“A volunteerism aspect is included in part of the training program which has many benefits, but it heightens the experience for the learners, and the local communities benefit from that as well,” he said.
Kiewit has been working in the Kapuskasing area for the last four or five years on various hydro-electric projects. The last one, which lasted about 20 months, was on the Lower Mattagami River Project.
The firm chooses the charities based on the locations where it is operating.
“We search for local charities, and we will start calling and ask them if there is anything they need help with within the scope that we are able to provide,” Bagwan said.
The LIFT program was launched in April and began in St. John’s NL. Kapuskasing is the second location to benefit from it.
In Kapuskasing, there were 20 learners on each day, in addition to observers who were taking notes and evaluating them. The observers are able to give them feedback on the spot.
“It is definitely a unique training program for the corporate world,” Bagwan said.
For the firm’s employees who take part in the program, a sense of motivation and dedication is instilled.
“They are building real work, for real non-profit charities that really need the help. The camp in Kapuskasing had its funding cut, so they don’t have the resources, but they still need to operate. A real sense of dedication takes place,” he said.
“Our folks are benefiting from this. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the communities in a very direct way.”
Some of the employees have been volunteering to do more work when not on shift, to help finish the work on the projects.
The trainees are full-time employees and the teams are comprised of those from across Canada. One of the leaders involved in the Kapuskasing project grew up in the town.
“We will continue to do it where we have people operating,” said Bagwan.