Indigenous people interested in a career in water and wastewater operations and management can apply for full funding for the program through an innovative partnership with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
Students in the program will earn an Associate Certificate in Fundamentals of Water and Wastewater Operations. Graduates will have the essential knowledge and skills for entry-level positions in the water and wastewater industry. The program is developed in consultation with industry experts and focuses on practical and relevant skills for success.
The program is open to Indigenous people who have no experience in water and wastewater operations or are currently working in their communities as the Community Based Water Monitor, but have no formal training.
“Being an Operator allows me to protect the health and safety of my community, by ensuring we supply them with safe drinking water and proper wastewater collection systems." said Krista Derrickson, Manager of Utilities and Public Works at the Westbank First Nation. “I have learned so many life lessons from watching and working with water: patience, strength, calm, collaboration, change and supporting other living beings. Water can start off as a small trickle through a groove in a rock and over time can make that groove in a rock as big as the Grand Canyon which then supports an entire food chain that didn't exist before."
In order to make this program as accessible as possible, full funding is available for up to 24 Indigenous students. To further accessibility, the five part-time courses that make up the program are taught online so students can attend remotely. Students can expect approximately ten hours of coursework per week, and will require basic computer skills and a reliable internet connection. There are further support opportunities if those are barriers. There is also an optional coop component if communities or plant operators are in a position to support such a role.
The program is scheduled to begin in April 2023.
For more information on the program please visit www.bcit.ca/water or contact Andrea Dusanj at Andrea_Dusanj@bcit.ca.
There will also be two information sessions on Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 25 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.