New program in N.S. trains Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in energy efficient trades
As the green economy grows in the Maritimes, it will open up more employment opportunities.
A pilot program through the Clean Foundation is a good example; the not-for-profit organization is recruiting in communities that too often have been overlooked.
“I’m from Chapel Island, or Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton,” says trainee John Lameman. “I’m here because this is a great training opportunity and it’s never been done before.”
Lameman wants to be an energy advisor.
This free program trains Black, Indigenous and People of Colour with hands-on and virtual learning in trades that will help make homes in Nova Scotia more energy efficient.
“Clean is an environmental organization, but we also have a strong socio-equity side. We want to work at the crossroads between the environment and social issues,” says Sean Kelly, the energy programs director at Clean Foundation. “We know there’s a real growing demand for people working in clean energy, a green workforce, but we want to make sure that it does reach people that have been historically marginalized and not included in some sectors, and we want to make sure that this workforce really reflects our society,” says Sean Kelly, director of energy programs at Clean Foundation.
Its budget comes from the province, with additional funding from the Native Council of Nova Scotia.
Training will last several months with participants earning a living wage while receiving proper equipment and on-the-job training.
“We’re focusing on building science, and that’s the way that we’re going to help mitigate climate change, is to reduce the energy loads in houses but also help to reduce the carbonization within houses,” explains Blue House Energy CEO, Shawna Henderson.
Along with becoming energy advisors, the program also offers training in clean energy trades, such as insulation, draft proofing and heat pump maintenance.
Participants call it a life-changing opportunity.
“Even though we’re getting certified here in Nova Scotia, it’s literally something we can do around the world,” says trainee Rashelle Williams. “As they were telling us when we first started, there’s such a high demand for people in the energy sector and there’s not much diversity, so we’re hoping to shake that up.”
Working together to create a greener future for all communities.