Try-A-Trade Day in St. Mary’s First Nation

Youth of St. Mary’s First Nation (SMFN) were recently given the unique opportunity to try their hand at some new trades during the first ever Try-A-Trade Day.

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The event, which was part of SMFN’s student summer camp, was developed to introduce youth of the SMFN to different career paths. It included a hands-on culinary demonstration as well as the option to test out welding simulators.

Laura MacFarlane, a red-seal chef and the owner of Macshack Family Restaurant, facilitated the baking session. Laura says that as an entrepreneur it’s important to participate in events like this because “as a youth, seeing someone who is working in a trade, and not only loving what they do but also succeeding, makes them believe that maybe they can do it too.”

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Mark Pentland, from the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), ran the welding simulator station and he echoes this sentiment. Mark says, “it’s important to introduce becoming an apprentice as an option to youth and to the idea that there’s more out there than the university route”.

When asked what was her favourite part of the day, Laura says it was “just being with the youth – they were a really cool group. It was interesting to see them create something that they maybe didn't think they could. They all seemed proud of their accomplishments and of course they loved the taste test at the end of the day. I think they had fun”.

Due to the level of success at SMFN, there will be another Try-A-Trade Day in Esgenoopetitj First Nation. It will be held at the Esgenoopetitj School on August 1st – and will offer even more youth the chance to explore more trades! In addition to the cooking demonstration and welding simulator, youth will be able to try out 3 additional fields: industrial control, electrical and carpentry!

The Try-A-Trade Day in SMFN was made possible through a collaboration between the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI), Apprenticeship and Occupation Certification (AOC), NBCC and St. Mary’s First Nation.