New millwright training program equips Indigenous employees for the future
OPG is helping to give Indigenous candidates valuable training to become millwrights, an in-demand skilled trade critical to the energy industry.
The new Introduction to Millwrighting (ITM) training program created by the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario (MRCO) welcomed eight Indigenous candidates when it launched in October 2021 at the Darlington Energy Complex in Courtice, Ont.
All eight candidates successfully graduated in the fall, officially becoming millwright apprentices.
The ITM training program, part of OPG's Indigenous Opportunities Network (ION), is a specialized, six-week training course focusing on safety fundamentals, instruction in the millwright trade, and preparation for the aptitude test required to enter the millwright union. ION is a community-centred program that recruits job-ready Indigenous peoples and places them in skilled trades, project management and administrative jobs within the energy sector.
Highly trained MRCO millwrights install, maintain, diagnose and repair various industrial and mechanical equipment – from pumps and conveyors to the steam turbines that produce electricity at OPG’s nuclear stations.
It is a trade currently in high demand, particularly with the ongoing Darlington Refurbishment project and other refurbishment projects underway around the energy industry.
The initiative is in line with the goals outlined in OPG’s new Reconciliation Action Plan, which commits to increasing the representation of Indigenous employees across the company and growing the economic impact for Indigenous communities and businesses to $1 billion over the next 10 years.
“This unique training opportunity will help add more millwrights and skilled capacity during a time when we desperately need more millwrights and skilled trades in general,” said Helen Viveiros, Senior Project Manager in the Field Construction organization with the Darlington Refurbishment. “The program is also helping the careers of Indigenous workers already in the industry.”
Funding is being provided by Kagita Mikam, an Indigenous training and employment agency and ION project partner, as well as the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries and First Nations Power Authority, with instruction being provided by trainers from Durham College and Millwright Local 2309.
New trainees are available for employment dispatch with major contractors currently working on the Darlington Refurbishment project.
Since the start of OPG’s ION program in 2018, the company has exceeded its goal of placing 10 Indigenous employees per year within the company. In partnership with Kagita Mikam, ION has placed 59 Indigenous workers in various roles at OPG.
OPG will continue to collaborate with Indigenous communities to support the education and capacity development needed to take on current and anticipated jobs of the clean energy future.