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Des Thomas speaks about the Trade Winds to Success program.
(Photo: Alberta Indigenous Relations)

Indigenous trades program
lands $500,000 grant

Trade Winds To Success  - Training Society has trained
1,200 Indigenous Albertans for the trades since 2006

It was in 2011 when Des Thomas realized he needed to change his life.

“My life was in a really dark place … I started to make some different choices and different people started to come into my life,” he said at a government funding announcement for Trade Winds To Success Training Society, from which he graduated in 2015.

The young father of two had always wanted to enter the trades, but didn’t know where to start.

“In my family there were no pipefitters, no iron workers, no such thing. I did not have an in. Trade Winds to Success was that in,” Thomas said.

Today Thomas is a journeyman pipefitter, a father of three and a success story for Trade Winds, an agency that prepares Indigenous people for the trades with pre-apprenticeship training and shop experience.

On Tuesday, the Government of Alberta’s Indigenous Relations and Advanced Education ministries announced a $500,000 grant for Trade Winds to Success. The agency is funded through partners including the provincial and federal governments as well as industry and Indigenous organizations.

“This grant is to support academic upgrading and skills training to help Indigenous students make a successful entry into the trades, leading to good jobs and careers,” said Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

“These students are the people who will literally build our province,” he added.


A student participates in pre-apprenticeship training at Trade Winds to Success Training Society.

(Story courtesy of Toronto MetroNews)

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