Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 7: Education (6-12)

New training program aims to increase Nunavut Inuit working in trades

April 9, 2024

The $4.9M project will roll out across Nunavut over six years 

Seven people wearing orange and yellow vests and construction hats pose for a photo.
Harry Flaherty, top left, and Aluki Kotierk, top right, pose for a photo with some of the trainees that will be part of a new trades mentorship program on Tuesday in Iqaluit. (TJ Dhir/CBC

CBC Indigenous: A new $4.9-million project, announced Tuesday in Iqaluit, is a partnership between the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation and NCC Development. 

The agreement provides funding over six years to train Inuit as apprentices in the construction industry. 

The program will be open to up to 90 Inuit, according to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk. 

The training programs will be offered across Nunavut in different communities. For 2024-25, training will take place in Arctic Bay, Arviat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Taloyoak. 

Training will be offered in Inuktitut and English. 

Kotierk, who is also the chair of Makigiaqta, said there’s been a longstanding need for more Inuit in trades. 

“Certainly in Nunavut, we are aware that there’s a big construction field that needs more Inuit employees to build homes and to build different infrastructure projects,” Kotierk said. 

Harry Flaherty, a member of NCC’s board of directors, said the program is also supposed to help the government of Nunavut reach its goal of building 3,000 new homes by 2030. 

It also allows people to stay close to home, he said. 

“They will be able to be in their communities and train within their communities,” Flaherty said. 

Flaherty said the program will train people to become apprentice carpenters, plumbers, electricians and more. 

He said in the first year, the program will identify 10 people from each community to complete 10-week training introductory courses. Then, those people will move onto practical training on site as part of a mentorship program

Flaherty said ideally, the program will prepare students to enter a trades program at Nunavut Arctic College. 

Kotierk also noted the territory’s reliance on non-residents to work in the construction field, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We know that Inuit are capable. We know that Inuit want to be employed. Our job is to ensure that Inuit are prepared so they can take on the jobs,” Kotierk said. 

Kotierk said the program will hopefully open up jobs for Inuit that are typically filled by a southern, non-Inuit workforce. 

With files from TJ Dhir