CBTU develops Virtual Indigenous Training program

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) says it has launched a Virtual Indigenous Training program.

“Developed under the workforce development program, Build Together, this training is part of our ongoing efforts to address hidden and systemic barriers to underrepresented groups within the construction industry,” the labour organization says in a statement. “This comes at a time when citizens of Canada, and across the world are calling for action and real change to end racism.”

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions are committed to making a career in the skilled trades open for everyone,” said CBTU board member Lionel Railton. (Railton is also Canadian regional director of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).

“Virtual Indigenous Training will create an opportunity for our members and employer partners alike to increase their awareness and understanding of indigenous peoples, cultures and customs, It is through this investment in education that we can more clearly understand the challenges that exist for underrepresented people that enter the skilled trades, or are seeking an apprenticeship. I am proud that IOUE Local 870 in Saskatoon, is the first to offer this training for all members, and look forward to seeing it grow.”

In June 2009, the Government of Canada declared the month of June National Indigenous Month; prior to that, June 21 was designated as National Indigenous Peoples Day. Both provide an opportunity to reflect on the deep history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

:CBTU, in our ongoing efforts to honour the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, has developed Virtual Indigenous Training,” the statement said. “Under Build Together, CBTU has been working to address systemic barriers for many years.”

Virtual Indigenous Training is offered through four modules; each of which can be customized to a unique audience and region. “The training will provide meaningful ways to improve understanding and relations in the workplace and explore ways to recruit the next generation of workers,” CBTU says.

“The modules are meant to create a base line understanding of the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, provide context on current situations taking place within the construction industry, and prepare course participants with career development tools.”

“The Virtual Indigenous Training will offer a path forward to better understanding, and equality within the construction industry; but the lessons learned through this training can be applied to all facets of life and allow for a meaningful way to improve understanding and relations with not only Indigenous Peoples, but with people of all races,” said Lyle Daniels, inclusion manager of Build Together and from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan.

Daniels will deliver this new training, and has facilitated similar training for Building Trades affiliates and contractor partners in the past.

“Virtual Indigenous Training is a tool we can use to help people better understand, respect and work with each other to build a stronger Canada,” Railton said. “The skilled trades offer a lifelong career that is available for everyone. This training, combined with opening up job opportunities up for underrepresented groups through the application of community benefit agreements on publicly funded projects will make a difference to Indigenous Peoples for now and well into our future.”

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