Two chance encounters this past week focused the spotlight inside my brain back on a reoccurring chain of events I think our region is finally getting the handle on, even though there are plenty of southerners who still walk among us.
The first encounter was a guy who worked construction twice in Rankin, once about seven years ago and the other was way back in the 2002.
Overall, he was impressed with the changes he saw in Rankin Inlet and by how many Inuit from the community were working at the Meliadine gold mine and a few other places.
The one thing he still couldn’t get his head around, however, was how many southerners he still saw in Rankin who – obviously didn’t live here – were here to do a job for as long as it last.
Except for specialists, engineers and the like, he had thought by now there wouldn’t be a need to bring in so many people from the south to fill job positions, especially when it comes to jobs on construction projects.
He told me, in his opinion, there should have been a specialized group formed within a branch of the Government of Nunavut (GN) from year one that connected local training with the construction industry and then focused on the jobs that would be available when the construction was complete.
Had that been done, he figured, there’d be less need to be bringing people from the south up to the Kivalliq region to fill these high-paying jobs.
A few days later, while mindlessly clicking around the Internet and social media, I came across some thoughts written by a man here in Rankin who I respect very much – one Mr. Mike Shouldice.
The piece I came across that Shouldice had written was focused on the new elder’s facility announced for Rankin Inlet which will bring with it at least 46 new jobs, including the need for six nurses and 24 continuous-care workers.
He pointed out people in the community have to ensure their voices are heard and make sure Nunavut Arctic College runs a continuous care certificate program, or long-term care program, to ensure that Inuktitut-speaking folks right here in the Kivalliq get these jobs and can provide appropriate care to the elders who will soon be calling the facility home.
Shouldice wrote people have to keep pushing to ensure the training is funded and provided because the GN is not good at connecting training and construction prior to a facility opening and pointed to the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility has a prime example of that fact.
You can’t go back and fix past mistakes, but you can put mechanisms in place to try and avoid repeating those errors.
If, indeed, the GN remains weak at connecting training and construction prior to a facility opening (I know, it’s hard to believe) surely at this point in the game it’s time to address that weakness while opportunities still come calling.
We must be ready, willing and able (in this case able equates to trained) to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes our way moving forward – or else we’ll forever remain in the past.