Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre celebrates early successes at May open house
May 22, 2015
The Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre (AACCC) at NorQuest College held an open house on Wednesday, May 20. The pilot program, launched in March at both NorQuest and Calgary’s Bow Valley College, is barely two months old but already has much to celebrate.
The Alberta Aboriginal Construction Careers Centre (AACCC) at NorQuest College held an open house on Wednesday, May 20. The pilot program, launched in March at both NorQuest and Calgary’s Bow Valley College, is barely two months old but already has much to celebrate.
The AACCC is a service designed to connect Aboriginal workers with employers recruiting for construction careers. These services are delivered through a partnership between NorQuest College, Bow Valley College, the Government of Alberta, Aboriginal communities across Alberta, and industry stakeholders. The event was well attended by representatives of all of the above.
The program has already attracted a number of excellent construction career candidates. Among them is Calvin Beaverbone of O’Chiese (Saulteaux) First Nation near Rocky Mountain House, who contacted the centre the day after it was launched. He is now employed as a drill site sampler for Leduc-based industrial construction firm JV Driver, one of the program’s key industry sponsors.
“Calvin was a great find for us,” said Vawn Jeddry, Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environment at JV Driver. “He already had a great mechanical background and was familiar with the process. It was simply a matter of connecting him with the right people.”
Ruby Littlechild, manager of NorQuest’s AACCC, states that the program hopes to place more than 300 Aboriginal workers in construction-related jobs during the next two years, through both Bow Valley and NorQuest. In her introductory remarks at the open house, she noted that many otherwise qualified candidates from Aboriginal communities continue to be hindered by lack of confidence, something which the program seeks to overcome.
“Many Aboriginal men have a hard time acknowledging their strengths,” said Littlechild. “Our job is not only to connect people with jobs but also to help them overcome stereotyping and marginalization, and to start believing in themselves.”
Job opportunities in the construction industry continue to be strong in spite of the recent drop in global oil prices, particularly in the Edmonton region.
“We have an industry that continues to need people, and we have people in our Aboriginal communities who need jobs and want to work,” says Littlechild. “With the help of our partner organizations we’re bringing them together.”
Read here for more on NorQuest’s AACCC.