Celebrating CMHA Kelowna’s REnEW program graduates ready to take on energy efficiency projects
June 1, 2023 – The inaugural class of CMHA Kelowna’s Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) job-skills training program is ready to graduate. Seven students have spent the last four weeks training for a career within the emerging energy-efficient construction industry. They will be celebrated at a graduation ceremony this Friday.
In collaboration with FortisBC Energy Inc. and FortisBC Inc. (collectively FortisBC), CMHA Kelowna offers the REnEW program to people who are experiencing barriers to finding employment by providing them with both in-class and hands on education in basic construction skills, with a specific focus on energy efficiency. Since 2010, approximately 165 participants have received training to prepare them for entry-level employment opportunities in the construction sector.
“The REnEW program has been well-organized and I have loved the learning. I’m looking forward to getting a job where I can put my learning to work,” said a REnEW participant.
Graduates took part in classroom training sessions that covered critical industry-respected safety certificates before completing a hands-on project. The group retrofitted windows and installed energy efficiency measures at Freedom’s Door, a men’s addiction and recovery centre.
CMHA Kelowna offers the training program through Foundry Works, which includes supporting the participants for up to three months after graduation to help them find long-term or permanent work placement.
“We are delighted to see the first class of the REnEW program graduate. This program speaks to the very core of what we aim to achieve at CMHA Kelowna – giving individuals the support, resources, and tools they need to feel good about their life and look forward to the future. We appreciate partnering with FortisBC to be able to offer this program, and to the broader construction industry for seeing this as an opportunity to have an positive impact on people’s lives,” said Mike Gawliuk, CEO at CMHA Kelowna
Employers within the trades sector also benefit by partnering with the program. They gain access to skilled, entry-level workers at a time when the labour force is tight. Employers will also have two weeks of wages covered through the program.
“We’re proud of this graduating class and the people who’ve taken the initiative to apply and participate in the REnEW program. We hope this will help unlock future opportunities for them. The work done at construction sites is where change really happens to make homes and buildings more energy efficient. Having trained professionals in this sector is critical to how we can achieve provincial climate action goals. Working with industry partners like CMHA Kelowna is a great way we can help more people through the REnEW training program.” Said Carol Suhan, manager of community programs at FortisBC
The next round of REnEW program training sessions will be taking place in the coming months. Individuals who are 18 years and older and are experiencing multiple barriers to work can apply. No experience is necessary. Candidates must be physically fit enough, legally entitled to work in BC, and interested in working within the energy retrofitting and construction sector.
Contact CMHA Kelowna’s Tamiko Keating, at [email protected] or 250-801-5654 for more information.