Indigenous Security Guard Program
Fallon is a 36-year-old from the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation of British Columbia. From reading a Facebook post made on the Athabasca Tribal Council’s (ATC) Facebook page about the Security Services program, Fallon was able to register and participate in this program.
ATC’s Project Coordinator, Natalie Cunningham, was Fallon’s coordinator during this program. “Natalie went above and beyond any worker I have dealt with, she made sure everything was going according to plan and was very helpful and she made sure to check up on me,” said Fallon.
She said a typical day was, “A lot of reading. The course included safety tickets, for CSO, H2S Alive and Standard First Aid Level C, preparing us for any on-site jobs we run into.” Fallon was surprised that everything in this program was new to her, she had never done any energy-specific training.
When asked what the highlight of the program was for Fallon, she said: “Passing! It felt like such a long journey because it was an online course and I had to be committed and disciplined in order to complete it but when I finally crossed the finish line I was able to finally take a breath of relief knowing I could move onto the next phase of getting a job in the field. It was great that ATC helps you with getting a job too! This course even had a company ready to hire graduates!”
For Fallon, attending this program has led to employment with GardaWorld. As soon as she finished she was eager to find employment. “As soon as I submitted and I can get boots and everything, I will be heading out to work as they’re looking for workers in this field all the time which is good considering the hard times we are going through getting everything started back up,” Fallon said.
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Security Service program or similar program, Fallon said: “DO IT! It was a different experience. I met some beautiful ladies who are now my friends and soon to be my colleagues and I can’t wait to be in this line of work because I’ve only been in the service industry which is great but very hard to make a career out of.”
Indigenous Security Guard Program is funded by Service Canada and the Government of Alberta – Indigenous Relations and administered by ATC. GardaWorld is the hiring partner.
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEM), Keyano College
Shaye is a 21-year-old proud member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. She was born and raised in Fort McMurray, and later moved to Fort Chipewyan as a teenager.
When considering her career options, Shaye heard about the Community Based Environmental Monitoring (CBEM) program through Keyano College; CBEM turned out to be the program she felt most passionate about, and so she enrolled.
The Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program includes various safety training opportunities, preparing students for potentially dangerous situations on the land.
“The most surprising thing that happened in the program for me was taking the Ice Rescue course where I had to fall through ice in -40 and get out. But the reality of all the dangerous things that can happen while you’re out on the land can be very serious and life threatening so I’m glad I’m prepared if it was to happen.”
Spirituality was also a topic covered, says Shaye.
“It was a tough one for me because my parents are residential school survivors, so many of their teachings were lost,” shares
Shaye. “It was nice to learn about it coming from other people.”
The students also worked a lot with Elders who would come into the class to share their stories.
For Shaye, the highlight of the program was getting back to her Indigenous roots. “In this program I learned lots about natural medicines, and where to look for them,” she says. “My favourite part about the program was getting my Firearms Acquisition Certificate and Trappers Certificate. And lastly the canoe trip from Fort McKay to Fort Chip was an amazing opportunity; I’m so glad I took part in it! I come from the Voyageur family, so you could say I felt like a true Voyageur!”
Now that Shaye has completed the CBEM program, she is employed by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – Dene Land Resource Management (ACFN – DLRM) as a field tech. “I haven’t had a job that I loved so much before! It’s amazing being a land user, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
When asked she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the CBEM program, here’s what she says: “I would tell someone who is unsure about taking the program to do it! Especially being Indigenous and combining Western Science with our teachings is powerful. Also, I would like to see more women getting into this field!”
The Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEM) is a Service Canada-Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF), Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET) and Government of Alberta-First Nations Training to Employment (GOA-FNTEP) funded program. This project administered by Mikisew Cree First Nation-Government Industry Relations (MCFN-GIR) on behalf of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation-Department of Land Resource Management (ACFN-DLRM), McMurray Métis and Fort Chipewyan Métis. The CBEM is delivered by Keyano College.
Haul Truck Operator Program, Keyano College
Fran, 45, moved to Fort McMurray from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with hopes of getting her foot in the oil and gas industry.
She heard the Indigenous Haul Truck program being advertised, and spoke with the Employment & Training Team Lead at Athabasca Tribal Council. After talking with Fran and getting a good understanding of her interests and goals, the counsellor suggested the Indigenous Haul Truck program.
Fran began the program which included in-person instruction, online modules, and simulators. “Your time is divided between instructed courses and simulators,” Fran explains. "You can expect to be doing some reading through online courses and slides, as well at modular tests focusing on the various haul trucks. The other times, you will be up on a simulator focusing both on the Caterpillar trucks and the Kumatsu.”
Surprised to learn that the duties of the job have the potential to be dangerous, Fran was given the confidence for the job thanks to the skills, practices, and skill set to be able to avoid such incidents given through the program.
For Fran, the highlight of the program was actually getting on to the haul truck. “I had never been on such a gigantic vehicle,” she says.
Now that she has completed the Indigenous Haul Truck, Fran is operating Cat haul trucks, 797 B and Fs, as well as 785s at the CNRL Albian mine.
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Indigenous Haul Truck but is unsure, here’s what she says:
“It was definitely a very drastic career change for me. I was in an office, Monday through Friday with a two-day weekend. However, it has been very rewarding for me since the change. I am home more often with my children and my family. The pay is definitely better. Some things to definitely consider would be if you are a single parent, a good family support system would be essential. Finding a good balance between work and family is essential, you would be missing certain holidays, birthdays etc. Summers are hot, winters are cold, and trucks break down. Summers are nice, you can watch the sunset and rise during night shifts. Winter shifts can be a challenge as there is not as much sun, however the Northern Lights can be beautiful. You would be working in a mine, out in the wilderness, among other things. There is a mine mentality. Lots to consider, and it’s not for the faint of heart but very rewarding. I am very happy with the career change.”
The Indigenous Haul Truck program is a partnership between Keyano College, Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET), the Government of Alberta - Alberta Labour & Immigration, and Athabasca Tribal Council.
Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program (UIEPP) and Upskilling Program
Cynthia is a 29-year-old mother of five from Janvier. Having recently moved back to Fort McMurray, she heard about the Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program (UIEPP) Upskilling Program and recognized that it would be a great opportunity for her and her family.
While pregnant with her fifth child, Cynthia joined the UIEPP, and although the premature arrival of her little one meant she had to take time off from the program, she returned as soon as she was released from the hospital with her baby.
“My typical day in the program would be going into class full of positivity and courage which I gained through the program,” Cynthia shares. “I really enjoyed having the class. I was completely shy at the beginning mostly because I felt like I would be the only person not understanding anything, but I had a lot of support from the class, instructors, and the staff at ATC.”
Now that she has completed the program, Cynthia will be continuing her education in Social Work so that she can open up a group home that will help Indigenous youth transition into an urban lifestyle, to keep cultural teachings, and to guide them on the right path.
“I believe children are investments, and education is the key,” she says. “My goal is to see more Indigenous youth being successful.”
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program, here’s what she says: “I highly recommend taking this program. It gave me the confidence in myself, mainly in education, which I felt I lacked. The support through the program was an amazing experience. I am grateful that I had the privilege to take part in the UIEPP. Merci Cho.”
The Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program is a partnership between Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET), the Government of Alberta - Alberta Labour & Immigration, Keyano College, and Athabasca Tribal Council.
Robinson R22/44/66 Helicopter and Lycoming Factory Piston Engine Courses
Charlie is a 33-year-old proud member of the Fort McKay First Nation. He was born and raised in Fort McKay, but after graduation moved to the Northwest Territories.
Fort McKay ISETS has been sponsoring Charlie since he started his aviation career path after high school, and while he was completing his college diploma for Aircraft Maintenance. After Charlie obtained his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s License he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration Aviation Degree at The University of Fraser Valley, and trained as both an airplane and helicopter pilot. He also attended both the Robinson R22/44/66 Helicopter and Lycoming Factory Piston Engine Courses.
The beginning of the program occurred in the classroom. Once the technicalities were finished, a typical day was mornings in the classroom and afternoons in the hangar taking apart helicopters and engines.
One of the biggest benefits Charlie found during these courses was learning from the people who actually build the helicopters and engines. “I have a big background in aviation both flying and mechanical so I really enjoyed learning about things buried within the ‘fine print’ of the manuals, and knowing all the specific details of how things are built and why they are designed a certain way,” he says.
For Charlie, the highlight of the Robinson R22/44/66 Helicopter and Lycoming Factory Piston Engine Courses was being able to fly his own airplanes to both courses.
“I felt safer transporting myself rather than flying commercial. It took all day to get from Calgary to LA; the first leg was from Calgary to Great Falls, Montana to clear customs into the USA. Leaving Great Falls I went to Twin Falls, Idaho for a fuel stop. After Twin Falls I landed at the North Las Vegas airport and got to see the Vegas strip from the air. From Vegas to LA is only another hour flight where the Robinson Factory is located.
Ten days later I had to go to the other course which was on the other side of the country in Pennsylvania. Leaving California, I flew over the Grand Canyon and New York to orbit around the Statue of Liberty. Finally, on my way home after the engine course in Pennsylvania, I made a quick detour past Mount Rushmore. The entire trip was over 5000 miles from coast to coast and turned out to be a memorable trip and a great learning experience.” says Charlie.
When asked he would tell someone who is thinking about taking either the Robinson R22/44/66 Helicopter and Lycoming Factory Piston Engine Courses, here’s what he says: “The course I took was very specialized and designed for maintenance personnel so its application is very limited but I would highly recommend both the Robinson and Lycoming Factory Courses.”
Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET) supported this client through the Fort McKay First Nation ISETS Department.
Professional Fire Fighter Program offered by the Emergency Services Academy in Sherwood Park
Thirty-two year old Donal has been aspiring to become a professional firefighter since he was young. A member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Fort Chipewyan, he joined the Fort Chipewyan Volunteer Fire Department at the age of 16.
By the time he was 25, Donal was the captain of the fire department. In a step that was key to him achieving his goals, Donal enrolled in the Professional Firefighting Program at Emergency Services Academy, a course that was made possible by the Mikisew Cree First Nation Indigenous Skills and Employment and Training Department funding. It was an experience that he discovered provided something different every day.
“The first three weeks of the program was intensive classroom study of firefighting fundamentals and theory. After those three weeks, we applied what we had learned in a practical setting, with back-to-back days of fire drills and practicing key skills,” he shares. “During one of these days, we trained in firefighter self-rescue by breaching through walls and quickly sliding down rescue ladders. We spent a week in Vermillion in their burn tower, where we had to extinguish fires and perform searches for mock victims in dark and smoky corridors. The heat and smoke make these drills feel very real, and its excellent preparation for the real world.”
At his graduation, Donal was presented with two leadership awards. “One was a brand new award and included a $2,000 scholarship for my future studies,” he says. “I was presented with the awards by the Chief of Vancouver Fire, Darrell Reid, and it was truly an incredible moment in my life so far. I felt very humbled and honoured to have my skills recognized by the faculty and students who voted for me, and it enhanced my self-confidence to seek a full-time firefighting position in a major Canadian city.”
In 2021, Donal will be seeking full-time employment as a professional firefighter. He has been continuing his education in Emergency Services online, and is planning to complete his Emergency Medical Responder training before the end of the year.
When asked what he would tell someone who is thinking about taking the program, here’s what he says: “I would encourage anyone who is considering this field to pursue it without hesitation. It is a deeply rewarding career path and there are always opportunities for personal growth and advancement. It is essential to be physically and mentally fit to succeed in this program, which encourages you to lead a healthy lifestyle and be very disciplined with yourself.”
Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET) supported this client though Mikisew Cree First Nation ISETS Department.
Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program (UIEPP) and Upskilling Program.
Twenty-seven year old Penelope is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh nation. She has lived in many places, from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island, but to her, Fort McMurray will always be home.
When Penelope found herself laid off from work, she recalled the words a wise woman once said to her: “If you’re not working, go to school!” She saw an ad for the Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program and immediately signed up for the Upskilling Program, knowing that completing the program would open more doors for her.
“Every day was something to look forward to,” says Penelope. “We learned a lot from each other, and helped each other build and succeed.”
Penelope says the cold winter and stress that came along with completing the program was worth it, especially when it came to graduation day.
“I’d do it all again if I could,” Penelope shares, mentioning how surprised she was at the closeness the students felt. “Nobody ever had to feel alone through the good times and the bad.”
Currently waiting for the Indigenous Haul Truck Program to begin — a longtime dream of hers — Penelope is grateful to ATC and Keyano College for making the Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program a reality. “They did a wonderful job keeping us motivated every day, and helping us succeed,” she enthuses.
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program but is unsure, here’s what she says: “Just do it. If you’re not working, or have any upcoming plans, this program will push you in the right direction! You learn so much about yourself and the community when it comes to opportunities. You won’t regret it and you’ll never have to worry about it again.”
The Urban Indigenous Employment Preparation Program is a partnership between Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET), the Government of Alberta - Alberta Labour & Immigration, Keyano College, and Athabasca Tribal Council.
The Community Based Enviromental Monitoring Program (CBEM), Keyano College
Twenty-two year old Kaylen was born and raised in Fort McMurray, and is a proud member of the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation.
Kaylen first heard about the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEM) while working with the Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC).
“I always had an interest in the environment,” shares Kaylen. “ATC’s Employment and Training helped me to get more information on the program. It just so happened to be starting as my contract was ending, so I decided this program would be a good start into environmental studies.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no such thing as a “typical day” in the Program.
“We did a lot of different things from day to day,” Kaylen says. “Some days were in-class, and others were in training. We also had our times at work placements on the land.”
One of the things that Kaylen was surprised to learn during the program related to her culture.
“I’ve always wanted to know more about my culture and to learn my language, and this program has helped me gain more knowledge in those aspects,” she says.
For Kaylen, the highlight of the CBEM program has been the weeks spent on the land. Now that she has completed the program, she will be looking for work in the environmental field, and possibly going back to school for either her diploma or degree in Environmental Science.
When asked she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the CBEM program, here’s what she says: “I would tell them to take the chance. You’ll never know if you will succeed or like something without trying first. Plus, you get to learn both Indigenous and Western Science.”
The Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEM) is a Service Canada-Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF), Service Canada-Indigenous Skills Employment and Training (ISET) and Government of Alberta-First Nations Training to Employment (GOA-FNTEP) funded program. This project administered by Mikisew Cree First Nation-Government Industry Relations (MCFN-GIR) on behalf of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation- Department of Land Resource Management (ACFN-DLRM), McMurray Métis and Fort Chipewyan Métis. The CBEM is delivered by Keyano College.
Trade Winds' Iron Worker Pre-Employment Training Program
Anthony is a 38-year-old member of the Fort McKay First Nation. He is engaged to Ashley, and together they parent three children, a dog, and two cats.
Anthony applied to Trade Winds’ Iron Worker Pre-Employment Training Program after finding out about it on the Internet. He had wanted to become involved in a trade for some time, and was impressed by what they had to offer.
“I found out that I met Trade Winds’ criteria, and so I took the entrance exam, and that’s how it all started,” he shares.
“After I cleared the entrance exam, I reached out to the Employment and Training office at our Fort McKay First Nation. Since I was going to be in full time school for approximately 2 months I needed some financial support. After the initial assessment, the Employment Counselor prepared a contract and assured me that I would receive a living allowance to support me and my family during my training. I received a monthly allowance for living expenses, bus fare and groceries. After my course ended in late September I was given an extra month of living allowance until I was able to secure employment. I am grateful for the support that I received from the ISETS program and my band.”
According to Anthony, a typical day at Trade Winds is like any other school, except at Tradewinds students have the option to be smudged almost every day. Everything in the first two weeks related to the Indigenous peoples’ ways, he says.
“I found everything to be very interesting in the first two weeks of in-class sessions,” says Anthony. “There was a different speaker every day, from spiritual leaders to tradesmen, and other people who took the same course.”
One person in particular made an impact on Anthony: a woman named Shirley. Shirley was the person who offered smudging at Trade Winds, and she spoke about her past experiences and struggles that she had overcome. Anthony found this very inspiring.
“She was a very spiritual person with a lot of knowledge,” Anthony reflects. “I enjoyed her session the most.”
The Iron Worker Pre-Employment students did a two week introduction, four weeks of schooling for the pre-trades entrance exam, and a final six weeks at the training centre. Anthony passed the entrance exam with an impressive 90%.
“I passed the training course, and immediately found work through the Local 720 Ironworkers union, and I have been working ever since,” says Anthony. “I am now an official member of the Union, making Second Year wage.”
Anthony is very thankful that he found Trade Winds and for the support of the ISETS office in Fort McKay, sharing that they helped him in so many ways, especially employment-wise. He accomplished his goal of becoming involved in the trades, and is proud to say that he is a member of the Local 720 Union.
When asked what he would tell someone who is thinking about taking a Trade Winds Program and the ISETS program, here’s what Anthony said: “I would very much encourage anyone who is thinking about getting into the trades to go through a Trade Winds program, and reach out to your local ISETS office. They helped me spiritually, mentally, and of course financially now that I am in the trades and working.”
Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET) supported this client though Fort McKay First Nation ISETS Department.
Class 3 Advanced Driving and Air Brake Course
Forty-one-year-old Christine was born and raised in Hay River, Northwest Territories, and is a proud member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. She is a mom and a stepmom of two wonderful girls, Clover age three and a half years old and Lucy age 15.
While working for a trucking company, Christine thought it was important for her to understand what their drivers go through on a day to day basis. This led her to attend the Class 3 Advanced Driving and Air Brakes course at the Capilano Truck Driver Training Institute in Edmonton.
A typical day during this course consisted of safety talk, doing a proper pre-trip, air brake test and learning about the truck and how to safely drive the truck. After spending the day learning, Christine was evaluated on her performance to help her understand what she knew and what she didn’t. “I was then able to figure out where I needed to put my focus,” shares Christine.
One of the things that Christine was surprised to learn during the course was that driving the big truck was so much like driving a car. “I was so terrified at first but once I got the hang of it I realized that I was okay and I could do it,” she says.
For Christine, the highlight of the Class 3 Advanced Driving and Air Brake course was completing it, but also learning all the components there is to being a truck driver.
When asked she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Class 3 Advanced Driving and Air Brake course, here is what she says: “Don’t be scared, we were all you at one point and remember the more you push yourself the more knowledge you will gain.”
Service Canada-Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET) supported this client though Athabasca Chipewyan Prairie First Nation ISETS Department.
Beauty 2 Brows: Brow Lamination, Brow Henna and Lash Lifting and Tinting Courses
Twenty-six-year-old Tasheena is from Mikisew Cree First Nation, and has a beautiful one-year-old daughter. She has a passion for the beauty industry and helping others feel confident in their skin.
Tasheena participated in three courses: brow lamination, brow henna, and lash lifting and tinting at Beauty 2 Brows. Beauty 2 Brows is the first Indigenous beauty academy in Canada. She heard about the academy from her friend who is the owner of the school.
When asked about the support, guidance and encouragement from the program coordinators Tasheena said,“The support is still ongoing from the owner of Beauty 2 Brows. Any questions or concerns I have Julie is always there for me. The encouragement and guidance is endless from Beauty 2 Brows.”
According to Tasheena, a typical day at Beauty 2 Brows is very productive; Julie takes you through the regulations and manual, the do’s and don’ts and answers any questions. Then, the practices start after she gets a model. Julie then evaluates and decides if it is a pass or not. If it is a pass, you get your certificate.
What surprised Tasheena the most is the high demand of clientele and how consistent you have to be to grow your own business. “It can be a challenge but I strive for challenges that help me grow,” she says.
The highlight of the program for Tasheena was learning new enhanced techniques and starting her own business.
“By attending the beauty courses, I learned new skills and techniques to create my own small business. It opened my mind to learn more ways that help me excel in business. I am currently waiting to attend another four-day course for powdered ombre eyebrows,” Tasheena says.
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking a Beauty 2 Brows course or similar program, Tasheena said: “I would tell them to go for it. You will never know how to conquer your dreams if you don’t try new things. The program is for talented and driven women and men. If you have an eye for beauty and helping others achieve then look, this program is for you. Believe in yourself and go for it.”
The program is a partnership between Service Canada Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET), Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) ISET Office.
Indigenous Driving Training - Class 7 Learners
Keira is a fourteen-year-old Mikisew Cree First Nation member. She likes to bead and study tarot cards in her free time.
Keira completed the Indigenous Driving Training - Class 7 Learners with Athabasca Tribal Council after hearing about it from her mother. She had wanted to obtain her learners license since turning 14, and even though her mother had bought her the Learner’s License prep book, she didn’t feel confident until taking the program.
When asked about the support, guidance and encouragement from the program coordinators Keira said, “We would practice some questions for the learners test, and went through the whole book in two days. He would point out the key points and provide us a link to practice questions during our free time.”
The highlight of the program for Keira was passing her Learner’s test and gaining so much confidence.
Keira’s completion of the Class 7 Learners program is the first step to getting her drivers license. Keira now looks forward to attending the Class 5 Drivers Course with Athabasca Tribal Council.
One of the largest barriers to employment for many First Nations is the need of a drivers license for transportation to and from work or as part of the qualifications for employment. ATC is proud to support Keira’s initiative to take the first steps to ensuring her future success. The independence and freedom achieved by successful students drives a sense of confidence that follows them into employment opportunities.
When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about taking the Indigenous Driving Training - Class 7 course, Keira said “I would say go for it because it’s a much easier way to learn rather than just reading the book to myself, and if you pay attention you’ll for sure pass!”
The program is a partnership between Service Canada Indigenous Skill Employment and Training (ISET), Government of Alberta, Keyano College and Athabasca Tribal Council Urban Office.
Employment & Training Services
We are excited to be part of your journey to success! If you are ready, willing, and able to further your career, contact us at 780-791-6538.
The Employment & Training team works with clients who are either unemployed, underemployed, and/or marginally employed per Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS) mandate. Our coordinators can help you with:
- Resume/cover letter writing
- Job search techniques
- Job referrals
- Job interview preparation
- Arranging appointments for driver training courses (Class 5 & 7)
- Funding for training programs, personal protective equipment (PPE), and safety tickets in conjunction with an employment offer letter
- Access to computers, printing, faxing, copying, job board, and online applications
Contact Brittany Kozak, our Employment and Training Team Lead at 780-791-6538, ext *246 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's start TODAY!
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