Congratulations to Wataynikaneyap’s All-Women Line Crew Ground Support training graduates
By Anthony Capkun
January 3, 2022 – Wataynikaneyap Power reports that, in November 2021, All-Women Line Crew Ground Support (LCGS) trainees successfully graduated with 25 transferable certificates “to advance in future apprenticeship opportunities and pursue careers on the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line”.
The transmission project is a First Nations-led effort to build approximately 1800 kilometres of transmission lines in Northwestern Ontario, thereby connecting 17 remote First Nations to the provincial grid for the first time.
“I am very proud of the success of these graduates,” said Frank McKay, chair, Wataynikaneyap Power GP Inc. “It is not easy to be away from your family, friends, and community while undertaking a course of this length. They took on the challenge and now they are in positions to rise up and become leaders in their communities.”
Laura Calmwind, training program manager with Opiikapawiin Services, organized the all-women program.
“I thought it may bring in more applicants if we offered the training for women only. It may encourage more women to think about the trades,” said Calmwind. “We also looked at what barriers stopped women from applying to our training programs. That led to us offering childcare services, along with other supportive services […].”
(Opiikapawiin Services was established to lead community engagement and participation for Wataynikaneyap Power LP.)
This is the only course of its kind in Canada, says Wataynikaneyap Power, and was specifically organized for First Nation women from the transmission company’s owner communities. Course structure was provided from Ontario’s Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA).