ACC’s ‘Trades in a Box’ hits Peguis First Nation

Assiniboine Community College trailers contain all the tools required for construction, piping and electrical coursework taking place off-campus.

Weeks after unveiling it this autumn, the Assiniboine Community College’s (ACC’s) “Trades in a Box” trailer has helped train its first set of students in an Applied Building Construction certification class.

The trailer, which contains the construction tools students require for the class, has been parked in Peguis First Nation where 30 local students are studying the course. These students were split into two groups, with the first class of 15 entering the program in September and graduating in March of next year.

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The second group is preparing for their carpentry course by taking high school classes now. They are expected to begin using the “Trades in a Box” trailer in March. These students are studying secondary school classes, such as math, that correspond to what they need to know for carpentry. This class will graduate in September of next year with both a Mature Student High School diploma and an Applied Building Construction certificate.

All of the graduates will be qualified to work in all areas of the carpentry industry as it corresponds to building construction.

“This program is giving me more understanding of carpentry tools, materials and jobsite safety,” Megan Stevenson, one of the students involved in the ACC, off-campus program, said in a media release last week. “I get the opportunity to work with and learn from others.”

Three organizations – the Peguis First Nation, Peguis Development Corp. and the Post-Secondary Partnership Program of Indigenous Services Canada – joined ACC in providing the program to the community.

“Capacity is a priority for Peguis First Nation,” local Chief Glenn Hudson said. “It is an essential component when developing new projects and opportunities. It is important to address skill shortages and build upon skill development to improve the social well-being of our community members.”

Peguis First Nation has several local and provincial economic development initiatives taking place now and set to begin in the near future. Chief Hudson said the Applied Building Construction Program’s presence in the community helps build their own skilled workforce.

“Many opportunities await the successful graduates for a bright future and potential advancement into the apprenticeship stream,” Chief Hudson said.

“We are witness to much greater success rates in community-based training. Our community strongly supports all efforts to help community members move forward into careers and the workforce. A key to successful delivery of training is partnerships. We look forward to the continued work ahead on this important educational opportunity and the promotion of apprenticeship trades for our Indigenous community and region.”

The “Trade in a Box” trailer for carpentry is one of three developed and unveiled by ACC in September. Another trailer contains tools related to the piping industry, while the third provides the necessities required by electricians. The trailers, which were created with the help of a $150,000 grant from the federal government’s Western Economic Diversification program, allows students to gain the knowledge through both theory and hands-on experience. The class also goes through the Apprenticeship Manitoba accreditation process for Level 1, in-school, pre-employment training each time it is delivered.

“The college’s Indigenization Strategy calls on us as a college to increase participation rates for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, both on campus and by extending educational opportunities to regions that don’t have permanent post-secondary venues,” said ACC Director of Indigenous Education Kris Desjarlais.

In 2018, ACC programming was offered in more than 20 communities across the province, including Residential Farming in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, and Applied Building Construction in Waywayseecappo First Nation.

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