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GDI – Pinehouse Partnership in Apprenticeship Programming

Oct 23, 2019

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On March 22, 2019 nine apprentice carpenters in Pinehouse celebrated the successful completion of their training. Lawrence Mispounas, Trent Tinker, Shawn Ratt, Marlin Lariviere, Jordan Lariviere, Dustin Lariviere, Valmore Lariviere, Ricky Lariviere, and Matthew McCallum started their training in the carpentry program together. During the first year of the program, the students took training for Level 1 here in Pinehouse hosted through the Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Levels 2 and 3 were hosted on campus at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Prince Albert.


The fourth and final level of the program was held in Pinehouse. In fact, the instructor, Ivan Remillard, has been the consistent supervisor of the entire program, hence having rapport with the students and providing continuity that they have found beneficial. We were able to add three trade routed carpenters: Robert Alcrow, Greg Natomagan, and Allan T. Natomagan, who used the Level 4 program as an upgrader.


We want to thank and congratulate all of our apprentices and staff who work with them for their perseverance and dedication and for the time away from their families.


With the cooperation of the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC), all the nine apprentices are expected to write their journeyperson examinations in Pinehouse.


Pinehouse started an apprenticeship program for Carpenters, Heavy Duty Mechanics, Industrial Mechanics and Welders shortly after the signing of the Collaboration Agreement between the Village of Pinehouse, Cameco, and AREVA in 2013. All the programs were successful with the largest number coming from the carpenters. Mayor Mike Natomagan was instrumental in making this possible.


We have many partners who we need to thank that have made this journey possible within the community of Pinehouse and we will save the best for last.


First, we want to thank Steve Innes and Danielle Debruyne of Northern Career Quest for providing the first wage subsidy for the original apprentices for 12 months.


Second, we want to commend the Aboriginal Initiatives group of the SATCC for opportunity to enable us to host the training program in an Indigenous community in northern Saskatchewan.


Third, a special thank you to Shelley McNaab and Sylvia Hamilton of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies for hosting the final Level 4 program here in Pinehouse and acting as the Joint Training Committee for some of the apprentices.


Fourth, we want to thank Conrad Misponas of Pinehouse Housing Corporation for allowing our skilled apprentices to build 13 beautiful homes and a 12 unit Elders complex, six unit homeless shelter, and the interior of the Community Ice Arena.


Fifth we want to thank the mining companies Cameco and AREVA for the labour services portion of the agreement which allowed our community to develop required skill and infrastructure for our community.


Sixth we want to thank SATCC for their commitment and understanding that Indigenous people want opportunity to acquire relevant knowledge and skills in their choses trades; and that this needs to be to be certified and if at all possible, we want to do it from our home communities, where we have the most support.


The final group we want to thank and recognize for their assistance, their continued support is the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Dumont Technical Institute. I want to thank the leadership of Gabriel Dumont Institute for believing that a community such as Pinehouse could succeed in developing from start to finish, an apprenticeship program. We want to thank Gabriel Dumont Institute for supporting the community through wage subsidy for the Levels 2 to 4 for over three years. We want to thank Gabriel Dumont Institute staff for their assistance, specifically, Max Morin for the continuing support through constant communication, and Marina Morin, a person who understands the real issues faced by Indigenous communities when they are trying new initiatives. She was rock solid and making sure we completed all the required documentation and the paper work we needed to continue the program from start to finish. Marina was always supportive through all the challenges and had great advice, through it all.


From the bottom of our heart and spirits we want to thank our partners, our community, and our apprentices. This is testament to the fact that when communities like Pinehouse are given the opportunity, they can build training models that leaves families intact, and provide real solutions to housing shortages, skill shortages in our Indigenous communities. We are blessed and we can look forward to continuing this very successful journey.


Walter Smith is the Manager of Training and Labour Services at Pinehouse Business North, Pinehouse, Saskatchewan.


Left to right: Ivan Remillard (Instructor), Shawn Ratt, Dustin Lariviere, Jordan Lariviere, Ricky Lariviere, Valmore Lariviere Jr., Matthew McCallum, Greg Natomagan, Lawrence Mispounas, Marlin Lariviere, and Robert(Bobby) Alcrow


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