Matawa First Nations communities training carpenters


Robin MacLennan

Ontario Construction Report staff writer

Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) is expanding training programs to include in-class apprenticeship training for carpentry. The new program, with funding from Ontario, will provide job seekers in Matawa First Nations communities an opportunity to get state-of-the-art training in an in-demand sector and pursue rewarding and well-paying careers close to home.

“We look forward to working together with KKETS to resolve our housing crisis by building capacity for our community members and acquiring more red seal carpenters and other trades in our community,” said Chief Bruce Achneepineskum, Marten Falls First Nation. “Providing our First Nation community members with the tools, and training to build and maintain our homes would be leading our own way to prosperity, and sustainable growth.

“The financial and technical support from the province of Ontario is greatly needed to improve the quality of life for our membership in Marten Falls.”

The historic training delivery agreement will provide accessible training for the nine Matawa First Nations communities, including five that are only accessible by air and winter road.

“Today’s announcement means members of Matawa First Nations communities will have in-person apprenticeship training opportunities that lead to rewarding careers right in their communities,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern development. “We continue to partner with Indigenous communities in the Northwest as we unlock multi-generation opportunities for local prosperity.”

First Nations communities that will have access to the training include Aroland First Nation, Constance Lake First Nation, Long Lake #58 First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Nibinamik First Nation, and Webequie First Nation.

KKETS’ in-class apprenticeship training for carpentry is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information on KKETS training programs, please visit

“Two-and-a-half years ago, the Board of Directors met in Thunder Bay to discuss and provide their input for the direction of KKETS,” said Ron Wesley, president of KKETS Board and representing Constance Lake First Nation. “Unanimously, the members of the Board gave the directive that housing, and gaining more red seal trades members is the priority for KKETS moving forward.

“We are pleased to share that with the assistance from the Province of Ontario, KKETS has begun to address the housing needs in the Matawa communities through capacity building.”


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