This year, we began working in Iqaluit’s Makigiarvik Correctional Centre, a minimum security facility for mostly Inuit men aged 18–35 from all over the Qikiqtani (Baffin) region. Many of the inmates are only there for a short period of time, and there are no educational programs currently being offered due to space and staffing capacity. The pre-trades tutoring program offered by Frontier College has a rolling registration, serving six inmates at a time, with a waiting list of three-to-four people.
Our program instructor, Erin, plays a key role in the success of the program for inmates who would like to pursue a career in the trades. In order to enter a trades apprenticeship, the student must either have a high school diploma or have successfully passed the Trades Entrance Exam, which assesses their competency in Math, Science, and Reading Comprehension. This exam is often a significant barrier for Nunavummiut who want to pursue trades careers.
Since January, the Makigiarvik Correctional Centre tutoring program has seen two learners successfully challenge and pass their Trade Entrance Exam.
One of the learners had previously attended trade school for plumbing but had to drop the program due to some personal issues. He was very motivated by the opportunity to get back into this trade and was eager to work through all the material provided. He was able to complete all the tutoring modules and pass his exam in less than two months. A few days after the exam, he was transferred to a different facility and phoned to let me know he passed—he was very proud of himself and grateful for the tutoring support that helped him get there. He will be released before the end of the summer, and is already registered to start the plumbing course at Nunavut Arctic College in the fall.Erin Murray, Program Instructor