This week I’d like to feature an organization I have worked with over the last couple of years: Tribal Chief’s Employment and Training Services Association or TCETSA.
TCETSA, an Indigenous organization that operates on Treaty 6 territory and has a number of programs designed to help Indigenous people improve their skills and find employment. Their initiatives include:
- The provision of Class 7 Driver’s License Training
- The North Eastern Alberta Apprenticeship Initiative
- The Tiny Homes Project
- Xpressions Arts and Design
Dave Ferro Safety Ltd. became involved with TCETSA back in 2017 and played a part in their Tiny Homes Project. TCETSA describes the Tiny Homes Project as:
“A holistic home building project aimed at addressing the needs of the trainees in construction safety, trades training, and hands-on experience for young adults interested in becoming apprentices. By involving skilled journeyman from our nations in their training of the building of Tiny Homes, this project seeks to address homelessness and provide exposure to various trade opportunities allowing apprentices to make informed choices for their futures.”
The program was a collaboration of a diverse group of organizations that provided funding, expertise, tools and materials. Each of the communities involved supplied the construction materials and a number of student participants. The Tiny Homes program is brilliant in its simplicity: each tiny home build can be completed quickly, efficiently and with minimal resources. The program provides a number of distinct benefits!
A primary benefit is how participants in the home build come away with trade training, safety training, construction experience, and a new-found confidence in their own abilities. What they learn on the project is highly applicable outside the project as the construction skills learned are scalable to larger projects. Being a home build, most of the work hours fell into the carpentry trade, but there was also electrical, plumbing and gas fitting work to be done of course! TCETSA was able to get the program recognized by Alberta Apprenticeship so the participant’s work hours counted toward their future trade tickets – quite an accomplishment!
One of the other benefits are the Tiny Homes themselves! Once completed, they were used to provide housing and meeting spaces within the community. One of the communities was not content with building a single tiny home and did several at the same time! There were a number of designs built, from small one room homes up to larger two-bedroom models.
Eva John-Gladue, the Operations Manager for TCTSA’s Edmonton office, first discussed the project with me back in late 2016. I was very happy to participate and agreed to do the safety program development and implementation.
Eva wanted a program that would be applicable to the work being done, but also contain elements that the participants would see on Alberta commercial and heavy industrial projects. If that was not challenging enough, the communities themselves fall under Federal OHS legislation as opposed to Provincial.
So, a simple construction safety program suitable for residential construction, but with industrial elements that would not be out of place on an oil sands project. In addition, it had to be designed to build familiarity with Provincial OHSLegislation while also meeting the Federal OHS Legislation. I guess I can safely call it at least mildly challenging!
In addition to the manual build, I had the pleasure of personally doing the initial orientation and training on most of the projects as well as follow-up training, audits, and inspections. Participants came away with a good understanding of Field Level Hazard Analysis and all participated in the Job Hazard Assessment for each of the builds as part of the orientation and training process.
It is worth noting that the program included not only First Nations Communities; the partnership was also extended to Metis Settlements. What was universal is that I found all of the communities to be very welcoming and even had the pleasure of sharing a bannock and elk stew lunch at one of them.
In closing, I would like to once again recognize and congratulate Eva John-Gladue and Tribal Chief’s Employment and Training Services for the good work that they do for all of their participant communities. I consider it a great honor to have been able to collaborate with them on the Tiny Homes Projects and look forward to future ventures.
Speaking of future ventures, DFSafety’s office is currently being renovated and plans to feature some artwork from TCETSA’s Xpressions Art and Design on our walls and spaces as we speak… but that is a subject for another day and another blog post!
For further information on TCETSA, please visit their website at: TCETSA – Tribal Chiefs Employment & Training Services Association