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Youthbuild's acting manager Rhonda Taylor, centre, with students Edward Sandberg Jr. and William Woodford. Carpentry students from Youthbuild are helping build a temporary structure on the river ice to house a pop-up restaurant. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Vocational students to build unique pop-up restaurant at Winnipeg's 'The Forks'

YouthBuild program helps build 'puzzle' structure

A group of Indigenous vocational students got to add to their resume this week, helping to put together a unique pop-up restaurant on the river ice at The Forks in Winnipeg.

​Fifteen students from Youthbuild, which is run in Winnipeg by the Manitoba Institute for Trades and Technologyare helping build the structure to house the seventh annual RAW: almond winter pop-up dining experience. Youthbuild offers academic and vocational training with a focus on giving participants hands-on training.

"We're building this structure and they're going to be having dinner under here on the ice," said Edward Sandberg Jr.

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Sandberg Jr. has been a student with the Youthbuild program for two years. He is enrolled in the level one carpentry program.

He said putting the temporary structure together was "like a puzzle - but I'm getting used to it. It's something different. A different atmosphere… it's interesting."

Unique build

Rhonda Taylor, acting manager of Youthbuild, and was onsite helping to co-ordinate the build.

She said it's important for the carpentry students to put what they've learned in the classroom to the test. For some of the students, it's their first construction job site experience.

"It's very different from sitting in class learning the theory, to now the physical side of what carpentry and construction is going to be like."

Joe Kalturnyk, who co-founded the RAW:almond winter dining event, said he was contacted by a Youthbuild member about mentoring. "I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach about the system that I developed and just help out," said Kalturnyk.

"I think just getting… real world application and especially with a unique build, that it's a benefit for anybody who wants get into the trades."

The RAW: almond restaurant will feature chefs from around the world from Jan. 24 to Feb. 17, with each given two days to display their cooking talents. Tickets for the dinner tasting menu were $195 a plate, and they sold out online in 90 minutes.



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