Water First begins first water operator internship in Manitoba

Water First training program
In their first week together, interns dove into the content right away, studying safety, watersheds, water treatment and distribution, water chemistry and sampling, as well as touring the Lake St. Martin First Nation Water Treatment Plant. Photo Credit: Water First

Water First Education & Training Inc. has launched its first water treatment plant operator training internship outside Ontario, as it partners with the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council in Manitoba.  

Interns from seven Interlake Reserves Tribal Council communities began their participation in the 15-month internship program in pursuit of provincial certifications on February 12. 

This is the sixth drinking water internship program to date for Water First. 

“Local, skilled people are critical in maintaining sustained access to clean water,” said John Millar, executive director of Water First, in an announcement. “We’re excited that the planning and collaboration with Interlake Reserves Tribal Council will result in this group pursuing further education and careers in the water sciences. We hope the success of this program leads to many more collaborative projects in Manitoba.” 

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Since 2009, Water First has collaborated with more than 90 Indigenous communities. Photo Credit: Water First

Water First says 12 program participants will study safety, watersheds, water treatment and distribution, as well as water chemistry and sampling. They will even tour facilities such as the Lake St. Martin First Nation Water Treatment Plant. 

Each intern is expected to accumulate 1,800 hours of on-the-job experience in drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment in their communities.  

Training and additional workshops will cover areas such as water quality analysis, environmental water sampling, mapping, as well as career-readiness training, Water First announced. 

“This opportunity will provide members of our communities with skills and training to pursue further education and certification in water and wastewater treatment, leading to a greater pool of water safety experts to serve our communities and beyond,” said Interlake Reserves Tribal Council CEO, Karl Zadnik, in a statement. 

One of the new interns, Walter Spence of Peguis First Nation, told Water First that the group is eager to share ideas and support each other over the 15-month program.  

“Water is sacred, it is where we began our journey in this world,” said Spence. “Now we are making career choices about working with water. It is a big responsibility but one we can manage by continuing to work together.” 

Water First is a registered Canadian charity that works alongside Indigenous communities to address water challenges through education, training, and meaningful collaboration.

Since 2009, Water First has collaborated with more than 90 Indigenous communities. 

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