Forty-five participants of the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program (FNNRYEP) and Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) graduated last Thursday at the program's closing ceremonies held at Confederation College.
Participants received certificates and two high school co-op credits earned during six weeks of work and training.
The program is designed to educate about natural resources career paths and help prepare participants for post-secondary education in the field.
Certifications were earned in numerous disciplines, including:
- S102 forest firefighting;
- chainsaw (OFSWA standard);
- brush saw operation;
- bear aware;
- first aid;
- ORCKA Level 1 and 2;
- tree planting;
- G1 driver's licence (if aged 16+); and
- Environmental Management Systems
Since 2000, Outland Camps has partnered with Confederation College and Lakehead University to offer land-based education training and employment programs for indigenous youth in Ontario.
To date, the partnership has supported more than 430 participants from 55 communities to complete the program, launching numerous careers in the natural resources sector.
FNNRYEP/OYEP focuses on developing work skills, life skills, and encouraging youth to achieve an adult life of prosperity, self-sufficiency, and personal growth.
The program boasts many social, economic, and educational benefits for youth, including competitive wages, relationship development, team-building, increased confidence, strong work ethic, healthy habits, and experiential learning.
“The goal of the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program is to educate students about natural resources and other career paths,” said Don Bernosky, vice-president, Workforce Development, Confederation College
“It empowers indigenous youth by focusing on leadership development, social skills, and building self-esteem,” he noted.
“Over the course of six short weeks, these youth have gone from inexperienced trainees to vibrant and confident employees,” lauded Sarah Ambroziak, program co-ordinator, Outland Camps.
"The 45 graduates have gained the knowledge and skills to pursue their desired career or educational path.
“They have built lasting friendships and a sense of community that can only develop from the challenging common experience offered through these programs,” she added.