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Teaming up with Portage College on Indigenous training

Portage College
Portage College, Lac La Biche, Alberta

December 2020 – Expect to see a beautiful new gazebo or greenhouse built in Indigenous communities near Lac La Biche or Cold Lake, Alberta next year. In just a few months, select students from six Indigenous communities in northeastern Alberta will pick up tools and get to work as part of a new trade skills training program in support of our five-year, $50-million Indigenous Housing Initiative.

We’ve teamed up with Portage College in Lac La Biche, Alberta to deliver the 24-week Construction and Trades Readiness Program that teaches basic home construction and maintenance skills to up to two dozen community members in total. The Cenovus-funded training will be delivered by an instructor, journeyman and success coach in some of the participating communities to minimize the need for travel. Besides learning in the classroom, students will build a legacy structure for their community – a gazebo, greenhouse or workshop.

“Training local residents so they have the skills to participate in building and maintaining their homes is crucial to the success of our Indigenous Housing Initiative,” says Rhona DelFrari, Cenovus Vice-President, Sustainability & Engagement. “We worked with the communities and Portage College to design a tailor-made training program that we’re confident will provide the foundation for valuable education and employment opportunities for local residents in the long term.”

Students will focus on trades training and work-integrated learning to develop the skills designed for entry into a workplace such as home construction and maintenance. Following completion of the 24-week training, graduates may have the opportunity to work toward a trade certification.

“By collaborating with Cenvous, we are bringing work integrated learning to Indigenous students and their communities,” says Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO, Portage College. “This will create valuable education and employment opportunities for local residents in the long term, beyond the duration of the housing initiative.”