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Students Meet and Greet with Industry at Careers in Construction

June 27, 2019

Future, current and graduated Indigenous students were invited to sit down with Red River College’s Indigenous Transition to Employment department and Akman Construction Ltd. for Careers in Construction, a round table discussion about Winnipeg’s growing construction sector. Held at the The Roblin Centre, the event also offered the opportunity to learn more about and RRC’s Indigenous Education programs and supports.

“These types of events are important because they create awareness for our industry partners as to some of the challenges they are going to encounter as they work through their Indigenous employment strategies: to know where Indigenous students are, what’s the skill level they have and what are some of the challenges they are having getting into the workforce,” says Frank Parkes, Transition to Employment Manager. “It also teaches our staff what the student’s perceptions of themselves are. To have these kinds of dialogues between our staff, students and industry partners really builds bridges that normally wouldn’t be there.”

The recently established Indigenous Transition to Employment department is part of RRC’s expanding Indigenous Student Supports and offers services such as resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviews to current and graduated Indigenous learners who are about to enter the workforce. The department also seeks to build relationships with industry to create a seamless transition from the classroom to career. Careers in Construction is one type of event they have hosted this year, along with industry specific job fairs.

“I think attendees got to see beyond the fear of the interview. They got to see the people who are behind the interviews and what motivates them. I find so many students are apprehensive about interviews or they don’t even apply for jobs because they really think that it’s beyond their skill level or they think or that person isn’t going to like them.”

“Events like this really tear down walls and will make students more comfortable when they go into an interview. I really enjoy seeing students understand the human side of the interview, the job and the career, and how it really is a people process and not just a system.”

Akman Construction Ltd. offered insight about the industry and what opportunities are available to Indigenous people in the trades. This event is just one example how Akman and RRC are partnering to advance Indigenous achievement.

With the Innovation Centre building project at the Exchange District Campus, RRC and Akman Construction have developed an Indigenous Training Program to grow Indigenous grads into the work force and build sustainability for generations to come. This program is a two prong approach: Akman will seek to collaborate with the trade base to ensure a certain percentage of the entire construction workforce are Indigenous workers or visible minorities, and partner with the existing RRC Indigenous educational programs in this initiative to provide further training opportunities for students and grads.

“Akman Construction has proudly partnered with Red River College to provide an Indigenous Employment Strategy at the Innovation Centre project,” says Jared Akman, Director of Operations, Akman Construction Ltd. “We are passionate about the program goals and committed to a successful outcome – ensuring lasting careers for our participants. We thank the College for their support in this important initiative.”

Akman has greatly surpassed their initial goal at the Innovation Centre site with 52% of the workforce self-declaring Indigenous. Grads of the Intro to Trades program, a 5-month preparatory sampler of the trades, are already reaping the benefits of this program with employment in the flag person position, an entry level position that is exposed to various positions and trades.

To connect with the Indigenous Transition to Employment department, contact Cari-Ann Page at cpage70@rrc.ca or 204-632-2418.