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September 9, 2009 12:34:00 PM (2 days ago)
Shane Cheecham enrolled in the Syncrude Aboriginal Trades Preparation program to become a role model, and he is on his way. Keyano College launched the initiative today across Wood Buffalo in Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, Janvier, and Fort McKay.Cheecham is among the 35 students who are partaking in the program. “I want to learn a trade and become a part of Syncrude’s work force,” says Cheecham, who hails from Anzac and is a member of the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation.
Sponsored by Syncrude Canada Ltd., Alberta Employment & Immigration (AEI), Métis Nation of Alberta, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the program has received additional support from Athabasca Tribal Council, the Métis Locals, and Apprenticeship & Industry Training.
“This is an initiative, which will build capacities,” says Jim Foote, Keyano College President. “Syncrude, AEI and our government partners understand the importance of this program for our community’s future success,” Foote added.
There are 18 students enrolled in Fort McMurray, six in Janvier, four in Fort McKay and seven in Fort Chipewyan. The 29-week initiative will see students take 25 weeks of upgrading and trades exploration, followed by writing the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam and pre apprenticeship entrance exam.
A four-week work placement at Syncrude Canada Ltd. comes next, and students who have successfully completed all portions will be eligible to become indentured apprentices at the company.
“This program is about breaking down barriers. I want to see each student achieve their dreams. By completing their apprenticeship entrance exams and working for Syncrude they will be creating their own success and become leaders in their own community. ” enthuses Teresa Outhouse, Coordinator Syncrude Aboriginal Trades Preparation Program at Keyano College.
Syncrude Canada Ltd. allocated about $1.8 million over three years towards funding the Syncrude Aboriginal Trades Preparation Program last September, when the company announced an unprecedented $5 million donation to Keyano College.
“As one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in Canada, ensuring local Aboriginal people share in the benefits of oil sands development is an important and long-held value of Syncrude’s,” said Tom Katinas, Syncrude President and CEO.
“We hope that this program will help local Aboriginal community members achieve their goals,” said Katinas.
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