Training in construction in Nunavik to break dependence on labor from the South

Spread the love

Training under construction in Nunavik to break dependence on labor from the South

After 6000 hours of work, these apprentice carpenters will be eligible for the journeyman qualification and will be able to have access to better wages as well as to greater responsibilities.

The Ikajurtigiit solidarity cooperative is making its debut in the construction field in Nunavik, training local labor directly on its construction sites to reduce dependence on workers from companies in southern Quebec.

The non-profit business-school is the brainchild of Patrick Payette, carpenter-joiner and construction trainer.

After several years of working in Nunavik, he was struggling comfortable with the secondary role that, according to him, Inuit labor plays in the region's construction sites.

We will not hide it. Often, for a question of profitability, those who have less experience will be assigned to less important tasks. Unfortunately, it often comes down to the Inuit workforce, explains Patrick Payette.

The sector of construction is booming in Nunavik, fueled in particular by strong demand for housing. (File photo)

The idea of ​​a cooperative then appeared to him as an interesting solution to facilitate the training of apprentice carpenters in Nunavik.

If you want to go to a vocational school, you have no choice but to leave your community to study in southern Quebec or at the vocational school in Inukjuak . […] It's not always easy to make the move, adds Patrick Payette.

As an alternative to traditional vocational training, apprentices at Ikajurtigiit work while receiving support and guidance from experienced carpenters.

They thus accumulate work experience that will make them eligible to obtain a journeyman competency certificate, issued by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) , after 6000 hours on site.

In addition to training its own apprentices, Ikajurtigiit also offers personalized training for maintenance workers at the Kativik Municipal Housing Office.

The goal is to structure their learning to lead them to pass the famous journeyman exam. This means that they too will be able to supervise apprentices and be the next trainers of the cooperative, adds Patrick Payette.

Getting his journeyman's card is a dream of apprentice carpenter and president of Ikajurtigiit, Alec Saunders.

Southern businesses don't provide good jobs for Inuit in the construction. They think we don't have the skills, he explains.

Alec Saunders has accumulated nearly 2,000 hours of work as an apprentice carpenter-joiner. He hopes to gain experience and become one of the first Inuit “companions” of Nunavik.

The young father of Kuujjuaq did not hesitate to get involved in the business, after receiving a call from Patrick Payette.

The cooperative model guarantees him a voice in the management of the business, just like the 10 other apprentice carpenters who are also members of Ikajurtigiit.

With our cooperative, we will do everything to train Inuit carpenters and boost the region's economy, he adds.

Alec Saunders is thinking big for himself and his colleagues, but still wants to grow the co-op gradually.

Ikajurtigiit is currently focusing on apartment renovation contracts and the construction of small structures, such as sheds. For the year 2023, the total value of the projects exceeds two million dollars.

There is a great need for the renovation of subsidized social housing where 98% of Nunavik residents live. (File photo)

We have a contract with the Kativik Municipal Housing Office to renovate housing. We will focus on five communities for now and see what happens next. We're taking it step by step, adds Alec Saunders.

The latter hopes that the experience gained over time by the members of Ikajurtigiit will allow them to undertake larger works.

But above all, he wants this business model to allow real integration of the Inuit in the field of construction in Nunavik, by promoting training adapted to the reality of the North.

Previous Article
Next Article