A new training program will start at Xatśūll in January.
The program will take on 10 Indigenous participants who earn a wage while participating in the 16 week training program. They will build a small caretaker’s home on the Whispering Willows Campsite. Participants will gain skills in sawmilling, housebuilding and house planning, right from picking the right trees to harvest for these types of projects and milling to foundations, grading, drainage, plumbing, electrical, heating, roofing, windows, doors, insulation and everything else that goes with building a small house.
“We’re excited to have received the funding to run this program,” says Chief Sheri Sellars. “This is a great opportunity for people of any age. We’re also hoping it’ll lead to the development of a new business in the community with the sawmill and the ability to build small homes in cooperation with our housing department.”
The location of the house at the Whispering Willows campsite will serve as a showpiece for a potential future business with the desirable location beside the highway and the high amount of people visiting the campsite in the summer.
The program will be administered by Craig Kennedy, a Forestry and Safety Consultant hired by the Band, and Cheryl Chapman, Economic Development & Employment Coordinator, who together created the proposal for the program.
Kennedy has previously run a similar program at Tl’esqox (Toosey Band).
“Aside from the potential for the development of a new business and jobs in the community, we’re optimistic that it’ll provide 10 people from the local area with the knowledge and experience to begin a new and fulfilling career.”
The funding for the project is provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST) and the Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training Employment Centre (CCATEC).
The program will run from January 25 to May 21, 2021, at which point there’ll be a grand opening for the new caretaker’s house. Any interested Indigenous individuals can apply directly to the Soda Creek Indian Band through Leasa Williamson (see the posting for details).
Sellars thanks Kennedy and Chapman for making the program a reality as well as AEST and CCATEC for the funding.