“I love the machines!” shared Jeffrey Thomas, a Pathways to Prosperity student at his graduation ceremony last year. The six-day ‘training-to-employment opportunity’ program, delivered by Coastal GasLink and SA Energy Group, provides local and Indigenous women and men with specialized training to kick-start a meaningful career in construction.
“The instructors tell me I’m a natural. I took that as a compliment, so I think I’m headed in the right direction,” he said.
That was a more than a year ago, and the encouragement from his instructors sparked Jeffrey’s dream to become an equipment operator. Today, he’s working on the Coastal GasLink project, helping to maintain the equipment he’s passionate about, and taking another step closer to his goal of operating them.
Coastal GasLink, together with their prime contractors, are committed to investing in career opportunities for Indigenous and local workers across the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline project. Additional skills training and career-building programs are planned to provide local workers with valuable hands-on experience that will set them up for success.
“I worked in the wood industry for 22 years and I realized I needed a new chapter in my life, I wanted to try something different,” explained Jeffrey, “So here I am, and I love it here.”
Coastal GasLink’s COVID-19 Management Plan was approved by the Provincial Health Officer and Northern Health last month. The Plan includes health and safety measures such as asymptomatic pre-screening, mandatory mask use, and staying apart to help keep workers, their families and local communities safe, while allowing some people to return to work.
When asked about the extensive health and safety measures in place on the project, Jeffrey had this to share, “I love my job. They have everything in place to protect the workers on-site. It’s like everybody is a family here. That’s the way I look at it, and that’s the way it should be.”
Jeffrey, a member of the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation, is part of a limited, approved workforce focused on critical activities such as environmental and site monitoring, equipment maintenance, and site security in advance of spring thaw. Working closely with public health officials and local authorities, Coastal GasLink is preparing plans for the safe return of workers as part of its mainline construction program later this summer.
For Indigenous and local workers like Jeffrey, that means more opportunities for employment and skills development that can safely provide the experience needed to build a fulfilling career that lasts long after the project is complete.
“I’m going to give it 110 per cent and I’m just so happy to be here,” said Jeffrey.
Coastal GasLink’s March 2021 Construction Update is now available at CoastalGasLink.com.
To learn more about our COVID-19 Management Plan and how we’re helping workers return to work safely, visit CoastalGasLink.com/Safety.