Canadian nuclear utility Bruce Power has partnered with regional millwrights and other industry and regional leaders to create apprentice positions for indigenous people in the region.
Eight indigenous men and women (pictured) recently completed introductory programs to become millwright apprentrices and started new careers with Local 1592. The job program is a partnership with the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario, the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, the First Nations Power Authority, Huronia Area Aboriginal Management Board, the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario and Bruce Power.
“This program model is the first of its kind that can be easily replicated to increase the entry of indigenous candidates into the trades,” said Cathy Sprague, Bruce Power’s executive vice president, human resources. “This model also demonstrates the successful collaboration between Bruce Power and our suppliers and community partners. Congratulations to the eight candidates who gave their full commitment to completing this program. We wish them continued success as they move forward into their apprenticeship and millwright careers.”
Millwrights are high-precision craftspeople who perform exacting machinery tasks in power plants and other industries. The Canadian indigenous training program was held at Bruce Power’s training facility in Underwood, Ontario, while funding was provided through a skills development fund grant by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“We wanted to ensure that local indigenous talent was included in this training model that is supported by a collaborative community network” Rozella Johnson, part of the Indigenous Employment Team at Bruce Power, said in a company release.
Duncan McIntosh, communication director for Local 1592, said the program gives those eight an introductory look at what it is to be a millwright. They can pursue becoming a fully licensed millwright with the Regional Council and industry partners, McIntosh pointed out.
Millwrights work with utilities such as Bruce Power, Exelon Generation and others to perform crucial O&M upgrade tasks such as during scheduled refueling and maintenance outages.
Bruce Power owns and operates Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. Its eight units were commissioned between the late 1970s and 1980s, generating more than 6 GW at capacity.
Crew have been working with the utility to refurbish Units 6-8 over the past five years.