Building greenhouse introduces students to trade opportunities

By Michael Joel-Hansen
October 11, 2018 - 3:45pm Updated: October 12, 2018 - 3:56pm

Some high school students from Montreal Lake Cree Nation are learning while doing work for the community.

Eight students who attend Senator Allen Bird High School in Montreal Lake are taking part in building a greenhouse. The structure will be at Camp Hope, a recovery centre that helps people heal through First Nations culture.

Jay Noel is with Your Choice Homes, which is the community partner for the greenhouse project. He explained the project is one which stresses education.

“It’s a practical art program, so the students are learning how to build. YC Homes, we are a contractor, who mentors the youth and we take every blue print and look at it as a curriculum, and every job site we turn into a classroom,” he said.

The foundation for the greenhouse was poured last year and the second phase on work started a couple weeks ago.

The funding for the project was provided by Focus Forward, an Ontario-based non-profit which looks to help Indigenous students develop skills by working on projects which help the community.

Noel said he hopes the students who are taking part in the building of the greenhouse take away an appreciation for potential career opportunities in the trades.  

Currently the foundation for the building was poured with framing added. The facility will be powered by a solar system, which gives the students experience installing panels.

One of the students who is taking part in the build is Brandon Ross. Ross said the experience has been a positive one.

“I enjoy working with the co-workers I have, I enjoy working with the boss that I work with and I am actually glad they picked me for this project,” he said.

Ross worked in construction and carpentry in the past and plans to pursue a career in carpentry once he is done high school.

Getting people interested in pursuing a career in the trades is an important part of the program according Noel, as the industry is changing.

“There’s more that are retiring than are signing up for apprenticeships,” he said.


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