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Fort William First Nation students complete Introductory construction course

Carpentry training program established in partnership with LiUNA

THUNDER BAY — Ten Fort William First Nation members have completed a training program intended to introduce people to carpentry who had never considered the trade before. 

The program came from a partnership between the First Nation and LiUNA, a skilled trades union, and was intended to show that a career in construction is a viable option even for those without pre-existing knowledge about the field. 

The students earned important first-hand knowledge over the course of the six-week program, said Bryan Nieweglowksi, manager of training for LiUNA. 

“[We] delivered intro to carpentry with 10 participants that have never touched a tool or worked in construction before to kind of break the barrier and get inclusive participation with building sheds."

"So this kind of broke any kind of nerves or lack of [knowledge] in construction, and hoping that maybe there's a career path."

Nieweglowski said hardly any of the students had ever touched power tools before, but by the end of the course they were all confidently running power tools and building with their hands.

“Great progress. I mean, if you take someone that didn't know the difference between say a drill and [an] impact and then at the end of six weeks have built sheds with rake walls and hand cut roofs, it's pretty great progression,” he said. “It's very impressive for what they've done.”

The program offered a new path forward for those who are unsure about a career direction, according to Serena Pelletier-Waller, one of the students, who said that she had been out of work before she heard about the program. 

“I saw the ad for it on our Fort William First Nation Facebook page and I was working in an office previously and it wasn't really my thing, so I figured I'd try this,” she said. “It's a lot more hands-on and so I just figured I'd try it out and see what happens.” 

Now that the students have completed the course, they will have the opportunity to join LiUNA’s apprenticeship program.

— TBnewswatch