Students build another new house for Whitecap Dakota First Nation
- EFN Staff | May 27, 2015
Saskatoon Public Schools and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation will continue to build on a successful partnership that is making a difference for students as well as families.
On May 22nd, the High School Carpentry Apprenticeship Program (HCAP), based at Mount Royal Collegiate, marked the transfer of the fourth HCAP-constructed house to the Whitecap Dakota First Nation and announced a new, five-year agreement that will see the program build five houses.
“As the community of Whitecap Dakota First Nation continues to grow and prosper, our demand for housing continues to grow. The HCAP program will help us meet those demands, while providing students with the key skills needed in the construction industry. We look forward to continuing our already strong relationships with the program and the Saskatoon Public School Division,” said Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
Chief Bear noted that 500 employees commute to Whitecap daily and many have expressed interest in living on the First Nation.
“Two hundred and forty employees said they would like to live in our community or buy houses in our community,” said Chief Bear. “At one time people wanted to move from reserves because of lack of housing or no jobs. Now they want to come back.”
The HVAP partnership is one of several agreements between Whitecap and the Public School Board and the relationship continues to evolve.
“Saskatoon Public Schools and Whitecap Dakota First Nation have a long history of working together to create educational opportunities for students and support our communities. I am proud to see that relationship strengthened through the work of the High School Carpentry Apprenticeship Program,” said Board of Education chair Ray Morrison. “This program gives our students the enormous pride and satisfaction that comes from completing a major project that will contribute to the well-being of a family in the community.”
The High School Carpentry Apprenticeship Program has operated since 2004 and focuses on housing construction and the related trades. It provides students with the opportunity to explore a variety of trades and develop their skills in a real-life work environment while earning high school credits and hours toward apprenticeship training.
“The program is a great learning experience for students and often serves as the beginning of a career in the trades,” said Don McDonald, a journeyman carpenter and teacher who leads the program. “We have many students who have gone on to success in the industry and come back to share their experience with us.”
Marius Garvin is one of the grade 12 students that worked on the house and he says the experience in the class was from start to finish all good.
“I really enjoyed the roofing and siding because I like being up top,” said Garvin who is grateful for the certificates in first aid, fall protection and other areas that help getting a job. “I want to be in the trades and this course I learned that time flies when you work hard every day. I never thought I would learn this much.”
The work of HCAP is supported by professionals in the various trades who share their experience with students. Partner companies from the construction industry also provide students with articles such as work clothing and tools.
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