Apr 14, 2016
Posted in: Uncategorized
By Sylvia Moss
Last year, GDI Training and Employment and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) signed a Student Summer Partnership (SSP) in Saskatoon. Thomas Lavergne, an Environmental Engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan, got a summer job placement with the SRC as a result. Thomas thrived in his workplace and was connected to a mentor in SRC who continues to mentor him to date.
A sneak peek at SRC’s website showcases Thomas and his experiences working in the field and gaining direct work experience related to his studies. There is even a short video of Thomas. Feedback GDI Training and Employment received regarding Thomas and his work was very impressive, as were the kind compliments made by Elders in the communities where he worked. It was obvious that GDI Training and Employment had placed the right candidate in the SSP with SRC.
From this summer placement with Thomas, another partnership was formed on a bit larger scale as SRC and GDI have now signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will offer more opportunities to other Métis clients in academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math. The MOU covers the next three years, for three students, each summer for 16 weeks, to be full time employed with SRC under an Aboriginal Mentorship Program. The mentoring throughout the school year helps to set these Métis students up for success in their future careers, which is a huge plus!
So, how did it all happen? It goes back a long time, approximately 13 years ago, when a partnership with Wanuskewin was formed by Sylvia Moss, then an employment counselor for the Métis Employment and Training of Saskatchewan Inc. (METSI). METSI was a branch of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan responsible for providing education and training services to Métis people. In placing 10 students in a SSP at the Heritage site one summer, not only was a partnership formed, but a friendship as well. Mark Calette, then the Operations Manager (currently a Senior Advisor, Community and Aboriginal Engagement at SRC), and Sylvia stayed in contact on and off over the years. It was through that connection that Mark spoke to Craig Murray, the Vice-President of the Mining and Minerals Division at SRC. Once the connection was made, Craig met with Sylvia (now Employment Services Manager, GDI Training and Employment) to discuss the success of Thomas Lavergne and SRC’s new Aboriginal Mentorship Program. The MOU seemed a great opportunity, and it was officially approved and signed on February 13, 2016 at the GDI Annual General Meeting in Prince Albert.
For anyone looking for opportunities to build partnerships in their community, remember that sometimes old connections can turn into something new. The success of any partnership has a lot to do with mutual trust and respect, and often that turns to friendship as well. The great thing about any friendships is that you are always looking at ways to bring out the best in each other, or in a business scenario, the best result for those you serve!