Aboriginal program grads head out as heavy equipment operators

SASKATOON – Eight students graduated from the Aboriginal Heavy Equipment Operator and Class 1A License Pre-Employment Training Program in a ceremony at Wanuskewin Heritage Park on Friday.

The program started in 2010 and so far 22 students have graduated with over 86 per cent of them gaining long-term employment in Saskatchewan.

The City of Saskatoon initiated the program with the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatoon Tribal Council and Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology.

“It is such an honour for the city of Saskatoon to be part of a program that not only provides a platform for education for the young aboriginal students in this program, but also provides them with meaningful employment opportunities,” said Mubarka Butt, employment and total compensation manager.

“We try to pick out the best students that we can for the program. They’ve got to have work history, have the proper education and they’ve got to have the willingness to go to work,” said Terry Young, SIIT industrial initiatives coordinator.

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With such a need for workers in the industry in Saskatchewan, it’s now not a matter of if the entry-level operators will get a job, but when.

“I could apply with the city and work for them. I’m not sure if I’m going to, there are so many directions, there are so many job opportunities it’s hard to come by one. Have to figure it out really,” said graduate Jesse Ledoux.

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