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REF NO.: 60

SUBJECT: Sheshatshiu firefighters to celebrate graduation
DATE: Nov. 5, 2010

The Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) is participating in a ceremony for 13 recent graduates of a special firefighting training program in Sheshatshiu, Labrador.
The event, which will include a cap and gown ceremony for the graduates, is hosted by the Innu Band Council and takes place on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Sheshatshiu Innu School in Sheshatshiu at 3 p.m. Members of the media are welcome to attend.
“This is a proud day for our community,” said Innu Band Council Chief Sebastian Benuen. “For years our community has been at risk without the benefit of adequate fire services and as a result we have lost far too many of our members to tragic fires. Today we can see a future where our fire services, supported by these graduates, will be able to ensure the safety of our community and our members.”
Innu Nation Grand Chief Joseph Riche expressed his sincere congratulations to the Innu graduates.
“As the grand chief, and as an Innu, I am very proud of these graduates who have successfully completed the fire training program,” he said. “Their success demonstrates that Innu are capable and willing to undertake the training initiatives necessary to build the future foundations for our communities and our nation. I see this as a powerful motivation for our youth and our community.”
During the ceremony, congratulatory remarks will be made by representatives of the Innu Band Council, the Innu First Nation, the Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership (LATP) and Nalcor Energy. The ceremony will be followed by a community social with refreshments.
“The 13 graduates deserve much praise and recognition for their efforts and dedication in this program,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “These men and women received world-class training and can now proudly serve in the Sheshatshiu Fire Department. Their commitment to their community was evident throughout the training process.”
The Marine Institute, through its Safety and Emergency Response Training (SERT) Centre in Stephenville, partnered with the LATP to launch the specialized firefighting training program in Sheshatshiu on June 14. The intent of the program was to build upon the firefighting capacity that existed in the town and provide the necessary training to enable members of the Innu Nation to compete for jobs in the firefighting industry.
Financial support for the training was provided by the Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership, a non-profit organization funded through the Federal Government’s Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership (ASEP) funding program. LATP is a partnership of Labrador's three aboriginal groups (Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government and NunatuKuvut, formerly the Labrador Metis Nation), Nalcor Energy-Lower Churchill Project and the federal and provincial governments.
“The LATP was established to assist with improving labour market outcomes for aboriginal people and to provide support for a skilled, adaptable and inclusive labour force,” said Keith Jacque, executive director, Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership. “It is a proud and exciting day for the LATP as the 13 graduates celebrate their success with the community members.”
The customized 19-week program was tailored to meet the needs of the community of Sheshatshiu and the firefighting equipment currently in the town.
“Today, there are 13 additional skilled firefighters in Sheshatshiu, but the dedication and success of these graduates will benefit many more,” said Ed Martin, president and CEO of Nalcor Energy. “Their education, the experience they’ve gained and the service they can now provide will strengthen the entire community of Sheshatshiu and all of Labrador.”
The majority of the firefighting training was completed in Sheshatshiu, however due to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements and the need for specialized equipment, part of the instruction was also delivered at the SERT Centre in Stephenville. Because there is no live fire training building in Sheshatshiu, the students spent the final five weeks of the program in Stephenville for the live fire portion.
The SERT Centre is one of the premiere fire training facilities in Canada and has catered to clients such as the provincial fire commissioner's office, the Department of National Defence and the Joint Voisey's Bay Training Authority. The centre has also offered a number of safety related training programs at various locations in Newfoundland and Labrador for aboriginal clients.
“The Marine Institute was a natural fit to offer this specialized program as this particular training can easily be taken on the road and delivered in the community,” said Craig Harnum, manager, SERT Centre. “The graduates have been properly prepared, through classroom and practical training, to work with municipal and industrial fire departments and are capable of providing first-class firefighting and emergency response training.”
The 13 graduates of the specialized training program received certificates from Dr. Peter Fisher, head, Academic and Student Affairs, Marine Institute, during a small ceremony in Sheshatshiu on Nov. 2.

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