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In partnership with the Moose Cree First Nation, Support Ontario Youth (SOY) hosted two Tools in the Trade Boot Camps to address the severe lack of tradespeople in their local community. The first event took place on September 13 th in Moose Factory at the Thomas Cheechoo Jr. Memorial Complex, with the second the following day in Moosonee at the Northern Lights Secondary School.
On our first day, we were greeted by Chief Mervin Cheechoo in Moose Factory. He explained to us that his community is in dire need of tradespeople, and they currently must bring people in from different areas – an extremely expensive task given the remote location. Chief Cheechoo expressed his gratitude for our journey and our effort to introduce the trades to his people. He hopes that they will see it as an opportunity to pursue a career in the trades and that they will return home to help their community.
Our team was honoured to receive such fantastic feedback from the Chief, as well as Councillor Warren Hardisty, who extended our invitation to share our Boot Camp with his community. They gave a glowing review of the Tools in the Trades’ hands-on activities, our Essential Employability curriculum, as well as our hard-working instructors.
While we were there, an AGM meeting of the First Nations leaders was occurring – many of whom we met on our return train trip to Cochrane. We were thrilled to hear that our program was spoken about in high regard by Chief Cheechoo, and we have been invited to return. In subsequent years our goal is to make it a multi-day event to reach more people in hopes of addressing the skilled trades gap in the area while providing the first step into an exciting career for participants.