Making Connections in Alberta

December 12, 2019

By Paul Robitaille, Manager, Indigenous and Youth Relations

The author engaging youth at the Métis Futures Career Fair in Edmonton.

The author engaging youth at the Métis Futures Career Fair in Edmonton.

One of the best parts about my role at PLT Canada is getting to connect with Canada’s future forest and conservation leaders. 

Not long ago, we were invited to participate in a series of career fairs for First Nation and Métis students in Alberta. On behalf of PLT Canada, I attended two Métis student fairs presented by the Rupertsland Institute and the Kipohtakaw Education Career Fair organized by the Alexander First Nation.”

What a great experience! It was a chance to meet Indigenous youth right in their own communities. I was able to discuss their interests and talk about possible education and employment pathways they might take. These kinds of interactions are valuable because they teach us about the kinds of things that youth and employers need. We can then use that info in our Green Job placements, upcoming mentorship program, and other exciting services we’re developing. It was also a great opportunity to meet with partners and SFI Network employers, such as Millar Western and West Fraser, who help to provide meaningful work experiences for youth each year.

Hundreds of young people also tested their skills with our giant Jenga game. If you don’t know what Jenga is – it’s a game made up of 54 separate blocks of wood arranged in a tower. Participants must “take a block from the bottom and put it on top.” As the tower grows, it becomes more and more wobbly. The player who finally makes the tower topple over “loses”. Our version puts an educational twist on it: each block is tied to a fun fact about the world of green jobs. Facts include the types of green jobs that exist in the real world, the types of skills that can help build resumes, and the different schools that offer forestry and conservation programs. As the tower grows, so does a player’s knowledge. By successfully moving blocks, participants learn more about the building blocks of their own careers.  

Throughout these workshops, I was able to build valuable one-on-one relationships, answer questions, and connect youth to resources to help them succeed professionally.

Relationships are at the heart of what we do. Getting out into the community, speaking with real youth and learning about the issues they face is essential. It’s those relationships that inspire us to keep improving and helping youth succeed, and building programs that are inclusive of their perspectives and ideas. 

I’d like to congratulate the organizers for putting these valuable events together. And a special thanks to the youth who stopped by to chat and learn about PLT Canada and Green Jobs!

I can’t wait till next time!

Want to tell your Green Job story? Contact us.

PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. PLT Canada is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.


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