It’s a challenging time for many as people continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
But on one tiny, yet significant square of the world, Indigenous students are prepping for a new normal by training in clean energy construction.
From Sept. 21 to Oct. 29, 10 Indigenous construction students worked to build an energy-efficient shed on Westbank First Nation (WFN).
The completed building, which has high-efficiency walls, insulation, two windows and a solar light, is located next to the WFN Community Garden and will be used for food and equipment storage.
“I liked the teamwork when we built the garden shed — everybody being together and helping each other,” said Penticton Indian Band member Selena Joe.
“It’s given me a sense of accomplishment.”
Joe and the other students were building the energy-efficient shed as part of a training program in collaboration with WFN, the Okanagan Training and Council (OTDC) and FortisBC’s Residential Energy and Efficiency Works (Renew) program.
“I entered the program to get some experience under my belt. I had never worked on a job site before,” said Joe.
Over the course of the four-week program, she and the other students received eight safety-related certificates in the program, including WHMIS, First Aid, and small machinery operator’s licence.
The students received two weeks of in-class and on-site training with mentors and industry professionals from West Kelowna construction company, WIBCO Construction Ltd.