Works works
Project providing training and jobs

Daniel MacIsaac
Northern News Services

Inuvik ( May 12/00) - Inuvik Works is working.

It began as a training and employment facility in January and has already made a substantial difference in the community."

"There's been so many personal development and career development workshops and we're completing some projects like painting the fire hall, the komatiks for the Arctic Millennium expedition, the greenhouse and the renovation of the warehouse beside the Midnight Sun complex," said co-ordinator Camillia Gray,

"It's been really good so far," she added.

Inuvik Works is scheduled to receive $297,000 annually from Human Resources Development Canada during its proposed four-year operation.

Gray said in its first quarter, Inuvik Works attracted 39 participants -- 12 of whom have already found full-time or casual positions and 15 have re-registered.

"We've got $297,000 a year for wages, education and training," she said. "That may seem like a lot, but when you're talking about 15 employees working five days a week, seven-and-a-half hours a day, it adds up."

Gray said workshops have been conducted by people from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and Aurora College.

The purpose of workshops is to provide participants with new skills and work experience, and let them know what opportunities exist. Topics range from driving courses, resume writing, computer training and income tax preparation.

"The participants are also doing a little networking," added Gray.

"They've met people from Aurora College and now know what they need to go back to school, and through the ECE officers they know what steps they have to take and who they have to contact to develop their careers."

Gray said Inuvik Works participants have gained experience and provided support to a number of offices around town like the library, Family Counselling and the Inuvik Native band, but she said she wants more.

"One area I'd like to see improvement is in the number of non-profit proposals we receive," she said.

"The Town of Inuvik has so many hours set aside for projects but they could be asking us for more, too. I know they will be, since we'll be heavily involved in clean-up this spring -- whenever that comes."

One participant, Patrick Wolki, has already been doing that. Working on a team with Jason Kemp, Velma Cardinal and Agnes Kaglike, he's been out almost everyday since March clearing snowmobile trails around town of brush and willows. Originally from Tuktoyaktuk, he said he didn't bring his own sled with him when he moved down to Inuvik three years ago but said he enjoys getting out and working outside.

"My goal is to go into the area of administration or accounting, but nothing is coming up right now so I'm doing Works projects and am even looking at Aurora College," he said.

Wolki said when friends told him Inuvik Works was opening, he submitted an application to find out about it. He said he's taken a variety of courses through the office and, besides trail clearing, has worked on several projects.

"It got me off unemployment, and especially after taking all these courses I do feel I'm more employable," he said.

"And we've been hearing a lot of good complements about the trails.