Our staff are Instructors and Course Developers within a First Nations specialized training program as part of the Water & Wastewater Technologies Program at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). These courses are unique: they are the longest, most in-depth available anywhere in North America. The septic system restoration portion of the training is one of a kind.
Sponsored by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), the students are an essential part of an effort to ensure safe, good quality septic systems are constructed, and proper monitoring and maintenance is regularly provided. When problems become apparent, our students play a key role to restore systems to normal operation without dependency on outside contractors.
This initiative has the potential to save First Nations communities, and the Canadian Taxpayer, tens of millions of dollars in British Columbia alone.
Students learning to install a septic tank.
While the training listed above to install, maintain and restore septic systems provides a theory and practical foundation, the next step is taking this information back to their community to make improvements. This is where gaining experience relevant to the needs of the Bands comes into action.
Often working in conjunction with the Housing, Public Works, and other departments within a Band, our staff provide equipment to train the Bands staff to be effective problem-solvers in finding, assessing, restoring, monitoring and maintaining their septic systems. And when they need new systems, they can have the skills to review proposals and monitor the installation work if done by outside parties. Already this is ensuring Bands obtain appropriate, cost-effective new systems and prevent price-gouging or short cuts by contractors taking advantage of their situation.
As skills are gained, students are given more independence. Where the purchase of suitable equipment can be measured, students learn how to find and use the most suitable devices or even how to construct unique devices to meet these needs. Even if the student doesn’t wish to become a registered wastewater practitioner, they can become highly skilled and very effective dealing with septic systems for their Band.
First Nations Social Enterprise
Our staff have gained considerable specialized expertise over more than 25 years in this industry and we believe in giving back, especially to those looking for a hand-up, not a hand-out. This is why we are working with First Nations governments to explore the creation of social enterprises; transferring our knowledge in whatever way helps.
Not only can this offer employment in an industry experiencing shortages, it provides job and business opportunities for our First Nations students off of their own lands. Consumers in the general public benefit, as this breaks existing monopolies and improves competition.
Business models are structured based on regional needs, and this is where our insight can help First Nations students and Band Councils consider their best options. If it saves that community money? Great! If it can create employment, even better. How can we help? Contact us.