Water First Launches Pioneering Indigenous Water Treatment Training in Manitoba

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First Nations Drinking Water Claim

WINNIPEG – National Indigenous – Water First Education & Training Inc., alongside the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRTC) and associated communities, proudly announces the launch of Manitoba’s first Drinking Water Internship Program.

This pioneering step extends Water First’s impactful programs beyond Ontario, reinforcing its dedication to nurturing essential water treatment expertise across the country.

Groundbreaking Initiative: Water First’s Expansion into Manitoba

This 15-month training program is a significant milestone for Water First, marking its inaugural venture into Manitoba. The program is designed to offer local community members from the seven IRTC communities an opportunity to gain crucial certifications in water treatment, essential for pursuing careers in this vital field.

Empowering Local Communities: Training for Clean Water Management

The initiative began with an Introduction Week hosted by Pinaymootang First Nation on February 12, 2024. Participants are set to engage in a comprehensive learning journey covering safety, watershed management, water treatment and distribution, alongside practical visits such as to the Lake St. Martin First Nation water treatment plant.

This program, developed in collaboration with IRTC, aims to foster networking and knowledge sharing among communities.

Partnership for Progress: IRTC and Water First Join Forces

John Millar, Water First’s Executive Director, emphasized the critical role of skilled locals in maintaining access to clean water, expressing optimism for future collaborative projects in Manitoba. Karl Zadnik, IRTC’s CEO, also highlighted the significance of this partnership in providing community members with the necessary skills and training for water safety and management.

Certification and Career Development: Equipping Interns for the Water Sector

Interns will accumulate extensive hands-on experience in water or wastewater treatment facilities within their communities, essential for their certification process. The program includes a variety of workshops aimed at broadening their skills and preparing them for careers in drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, and environmental water management.

Building a Sustainable Future: Focus on Water Management Careers

This initiative not only aims to address the urgent need for clean water in Indigenous communities but also to build local capacity for sustainable water management. Supported by Indigenous Services Canada, Indigenous Skills and Employment Training, First People Development Inc., and donations to Water First, this program is a step towards empowering communities with the skills needed for a sustainable future in water management.

The program encourages a holistic approach to water science education, including enhancing women’s participation and providing support to overcome barriers to participation.

As Water First’s sixth Drinking Water Internship Program, it continues the tradition of fostering skilled water operators and managers, with 46 interns from 31 Indigenous communities having previously graduated, collectively contributing to the betterment of local water management practices.

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