The 15 month Boreal Homebuilders Program is already to start on October 1st, 2018 in Wasagamack and Garden Hill First Nations in Island Lake with plans to build two houses in each community. So many people signed up for the program over the summer that we are starting with more than 20 trainees in each community, even after a selection process. So much interest and enthusiasm in the communities for this to go ahead.
The great news is that the Mino Bimaadiziwin SSHRC partnership wrote a successful Post-secondary partnership program grant to fund the instructors, curriculum and some materials for this unique program. Our proposal was successful for both Garden Hill and Wasagamack, which cemented the SSHRC partnership with Anokiiwin Training Institute (ATI), as well as employment training, housing and welfare in both communities. Support from the First Nation communities employment and training departments, welfare and housing programs has been key to build this great partnership. As well, the SSHRC partnership will provide all the students with a training allowance to help them fund their education and feed their family while they are going to school.
The Boreal Builders curriculum expands on the Standing Tree to Standing Home training programming that successfully built homes in so many First Nation communities. This program now qualifies as post-secondary education. As well, the Boreal Homebuilders program tries to ensure that students learn the latest skills to build homes with local timber to make this program and housing sustainable over time. This Boreal Homebuilders’ program includes a small motors course, a wilderness survival course, upgrading skills training and forestry programs as well as a housing design workshop, introduction to other trades (e.g., plumbing and electrical) and a home maintenance education certificate. At the end of this course, these post-secondary students will graduate and have built two new homes made from local wood in each of the two communities. What an accomplishment that will be.
As well, this program includes preparation for level 1 apprenticeship for carpentry with students will be given opportunities and support to challenge the level 1 test. This carpentry apprenticeship could start their journey towards Red Seal and help them deal with the housing crisis in their communities.