Origin Operator Recruitment and Training’s Charmaine McCraw and Paul Giles are currently holding screening sessions for their eight-week Operation Innovation program for Indigenous males and females interested in mining and construction careers.

By Rick Garrick

THUNDER BAY—Origin Operator Recruitment and Training recently launched Operation Innovation, an eight-week training to employment program for Indigenous males and females interested in mining and construction careers.

“We’ll be screening over the course of four years about 400 people, and out of those 400 we will be selecting 60 for formal training,” says Charmaine McCraw, Operation Innovation project coordinator and a Biigtigong Nishnaabeg citizen, noting that Operation Innovation screening sessions will be held in six communities by the end of the summer, including Red Rock Indian Band, Whitesand and Wabauskang. “We did a screening here in Thunder Bay for urban people that are living in the city as well.”

Operation Innovation is aimed at both male and female Indigenous people who are 18-years-old and older.

“There is a high demand for females in the operation field,” McCraw says. “What we are trying to look for is a maximum of 16 participants per screening.”

McCraw says there has been a “really good” response from the communities that have hosted the screening sessions.

“In Whitesand, we actually had 28 people register,” McCraw says. “In Wabauskang, I believe almost our entire registration is women so it is going to be interesting when we go there next week.”

The training program features a Canadian workplace culture orientation, work readiness preparation, hands-on heavy equipment operation and on-the-job training.

“We’re working closely with employers in the mining and construction industry to ensure that once our [trainees graduate], they are going directly into a job to get some seat time and get some experience to help kick-start their career,” McCraw says.

The trainees will also receive transition services and assistance in success path planning to ensure their success and continued employability.

“Operation Innovation is breaking down barriers for Indigenous peoples wanting careers in mining, construction or any resource development projects,” says Paul Giles, director with Origin Operator Recruitment and Training. “At Origin, there is a focus on integration and reconciliation process. We act as a communication and connection mechanism, bridging the gap between Indigenous people and employers.”

Giles says some trainees will be ready for employment once they complete the Operation Innovation program while other trainees will continue with further training opportunities.

“Origin is a sophisticated company that looks to improve career opportunities, so we are not just talking about jobs,” Giles says. “For those people who are motivated and looking to advance their career, we are the perfect mechanism to do that because we really do look at people, assess their ability, try to connect them to the best matched opportunity that we can and then we are always looking to upgrade that. A lot of people have a lot of good skills to offer and it takes a lot of expertise to identify that and then to match that with opportunity. To keep those people advancing is our main purpose or role as a company.”

Scott McCleod, owner of LTL Contracting, is pleased with the results after engaging Origin Operator Recruitment and Training for their employment needs.

“Working with Origin has increased our ability to ensure Indigenous participation in local resource and construction development projects,” McCleod says. “They provide full human resource solutions that eliminate retention, onboarding, training and management issues. I’d recommend getting to know the team.”

The first Operation Innovation training program is scheduled for September. Interested people can register online.