2. How to Use It2. How to Use It

Guide at a Glance

If you are reading this Guide, chances are you want to set up an Indigenous employment or skills-related initiative or enhance your ability to ensure the attraction, recruitment and retention of your Indigenous clients or employees. You may be a representative of a small construction company looking for some basic starting points of how to do this, or an experienced manager in an ISET holder who is looking for some new ideas. Regardless of your background, you are looking for answers – knowledge, rationales, tips, models and resources. This Guide is intended to provide them.

To familiarize yourself with the overall Guide, start by reviewing the overview information in this Section. As you begin working through some specific topics, start by reviewing the step-by-step approach at the beginning of each Section. After this, you may wish to focus on the optional supplementary tips and tools at the end of each Section to help you put these steps into action. The Guide content is available to view online or in a downloadable and printer-friendly Word format, which you may either use as is or customize to your organization’s unique needs.

Building on the goals of awareness, access and action, the following is an overview of which Guide sections are relevant for you, depending on your areas of interest.

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overview Quickly understand what this Toolkit is all about and how it might be helpful to you.

Section 1: Making the Most of This Toolkit

  • Background, goal and target audience.
  • Overview of the Toolkit sections.
  • Sample scenarios outlining how to realize a specific type of initiative.
  • Get detailed instructions on the steps to follow to set up an initiative.
  • Attract Indigenous people to the industry or promote a job in construction to Indigenous high-school graduates or job seekers.

Section 3: Creating Awareness

  • Guidance and sample materials for promoting construction career awareness amongst Indigenous clients or potential employees.
  • Find out how an Indigenous high-school graduate or job seeker can get into a construction trade.
  • Provide training opportunities.
  • Find training that is available, including any financial supports.
  • Source Indigenous candidates.
  • Gain access to a pipeline of Indigenous candidates on an ongoing basis.

Section 5: Linking People with Opportunities

  • How to publicize openings, target the right audience, and develop solid referral partnerships.
  • Make sure your interviewing, selection and integration practices are inclusive for Indigenous employees.
  • Successfully integrate Indigenous employees into the workplace.
  • Engage and retain Indigenous employees.

Section 6: Succeeding with Hiring and Retention

  • Materials and methods for employers, or ISET holders or other Indigenous agencies to use in helping their clients, potential employers and other stakeholders prepare themselves for dealing with cultural differences that may affect the employment of Indigenous employees.
  • Find out the definition of a specific term related to the Indigenous community or the construction sector.
  • Find the top websites for useful information on attracting, recruiting, and retaining Indigenous employees in the construction sector.

Section 7: Tools and Resources

  • Selected resources that might be helpful to ISET holders and other Indigenous agencies, and construction employers and other stakeholders.

Making the Guide Work for You: Sample Scenarios

We have designed this Guide for a variety of experience and interest levels. Many users will find something of interest in every section; others will browse the sections that are most relevant to them. Following are some typical scenarios for which an organization might use this Guide. Identify the scenario that is closest to your own to help you make the Guide work for you.

1. Profile

Stonebuild Masonworks is a masonry contractor with five long-term employees. Stonebuild is based in a rural community and has been subcontracted by a large new home builder to work on a small residential build in a nearby region with a large Indigenous population. Stonebuild’s owner knows that this new opportunity is more than the company can handle with the current employees. There are good future opportunities for similar contracts.


Stonebuild sets the following goals:

  • Find qualified trades helpers in the local community.
  • Hire three trades helpers on a four month contract.
  • Look for help in giving training to the new workers if required.

Using the Guide

Stonebuild’s owner, Chris Barclay, decides to look through the Guide.

Chris starts with Section 2. Although Chris knew that the region had a large Indigenous population, he learns more about how having a focus on Indigenous workers could help his business. He decides that it would be helpful to have a knowledgeable partner in the community, so he reads the tips for employers on establishing networks and partnerships and finds his local contact. He uses the questions to help clarify his thinking about whether the four-month contract might lead to future work and whether he is prepared to provide training.

Since masonry is not well known by everyone, Chris downloads sample promotional materials from Section 3 and adapts them for his company.

In Section 4, Chris finds some materials on how training works in the industry. While there was not much new information for him, it is a handy summary to use with the local employment counsellor.

The tips in Section 5 help Chris to tailor his job ads and get them out into the community at low cost.

Finally, Chris reads through Section 6 to learn more about some cultural differences and get some practical tips about supporting the new employees so they can be successful. Stonebuild does not do a lot of hiring, so he finds the orientation checklist a real help. He downloads it and adapts it for his company.

Chris spends a couple of hours per week going through the Guide. He saves time by being able to focus his hiring efforts, finding four good workers and bringing them on board.

2. Profile

Eastwind is an ISET agreement holder in a mid-size city. A group of five young adults has approached Eastwind for advice and support in getting work in the construction industry. They have all graduated from high school and have some work experience as labourers on construction sites.


Eastwind staff want to be able to:

  • Offer information on training and apprenticeship.
  • Guide the clients in selecting a trade.
  • Support the clients’ own job search process.

Using the Guide

Renée is the employment counsellor at Eastwind. She decides to use the Guide as a resource in helping the five youth.

To start, Renée goes directly to Section 5 and skims the tips for ISET holders; she finds several useful reminders.

Next she reviews the information in Section 3. Although she is somewhat familiar with the industry, she finds it a helpful overview of what to discuss with the five youth. She meets with them and gives them an overview of how the construction industry is organized and outlines the typical entry points into the industry. She prints out some explanatory materials and the Frequently Asked Questions. Renée suggests to the five young people that they spend a few days researching the industry and its occupations, using both the printed information and some useful websites they can access on the Centre’s computer.

Renée uses the contact lists in the Guide to make some initial inquiries about the current situation in the local construction industry and what opportunities might exist for the five young people. Using the Guide and other sources, she discusses career information, training and apprenticeship programs, and the current opportunities with her five clients to help them choose a target occupation.

From Sections 5 and 6 of the Guide, Renée prints for her clients the information on searching for jobs in the construction industry and on preparing for interviews. She schedules time with them to review their progress.

Renée finds that the Guide saved her time by giving her ready access to materials that she could use directly with her clients. The information supplemented the more generic tools that she already uses on a daily basis.

3. Profile

Northwind is an ISET holder in a remote Indigenous community. SchoolBuild Construction is a commercial construction company that has been awarded a contract by the community to build a high school over the next two years. The contract requires the company to make positive efforts toward providing employment opportunities for local workers.


Northwind staff want to:

  • Attract and source local workers.
  • Investigate training opportunities for workers that need skills updating.
  • Provide advice to the employer on succeeding with hiring and retention of Indigenous workers.

Using the Guide

John is the executive director of the Northwind Centre. He is preparing for his first meeting with Alex, the owner of SchoolBuild Construction. John realizes that the Guide could be a helpful resource for both organizations as they work together to successfully complete the high school project. John starts with Section 2 and makes some notes on the key benefits of increasing Indigenous employment in construction – from the employer’s perspective.

At the first meeting, John and Alex agree to use the Guide as a model for working together. They decide to start with the basics in Section 2. Together they quickly summarize each of their interests (the supply and the demand) and then proceed to assess the labour situation. They realize that the community has several appropriate candidates with good experience but only a handful with formal qualifications.

The two organizations develop some communication and publicity materials to inform the community about the upcoming work opportunities. John and Alex find some good ideas for new approaches in Section 3.

With some government funding, John suggests that SchoolBuild use the local community centre to provide basic orientation and training to individuals who have residential but not commercial work experience. They find some good ideas in the examples of successful training initiatives from Section 4.

SchoolBuild will hire up to 12 local workers who will work alongside experienced employees flown in from other company locations. Northwind and SchoolBuild agree to have the interviewing team and the job site supervisors meet first with Northwind staff to review the information in Section 6 about reducing bias in the interview process and creating an inclusive work environment that will be welcoming of Indigenous workers.

John and Alex find that the Toolkit has helped them to work together. The tips and resources give them a common understanding of some of the issues and an organized way to work through them.

4. Profile

PowerBuild is a large heavy industrial construction company that is starting a five-year project to build a power plant in a remote location. The power company requires its suppliers, including PowerBuild, to maximize the opportunities for Indigenous employment.


PowerBuild wants to:

  • Investigate possibilities for hiring local Indigenous workers.
  • Make links with the community and nearby colleges to attract and source workers.
  • Investigate ways of providing needed training.
  • Conduct a comprehensive recruiting campaign.
  • Seek advice on retention and integration.

Using the Guide

Sanjeev is the project manager from PowerBuild who is responsible for the power plant project. He and the company’s management team agree that a comprehensive Indigenous initiative makes good sense for this project. Andrea is assigned to work on making the initiative a success.

Andrea starts with Section 2 of the Guide, reading through the tips for employers and using the contact list to identify potential stakeholders and partners. At the first meeting of the Power Plant Aboriginal Employment Network, the partners agree that the Guide can be the starting point for working together. They collectively work through the assessment of the labour situation; each partner summarizes what it is looking for and what it can provide. They agree on a goal for the initiative.

When they are ready to hire, Andrea compares PowerBuild’s recruiting and hiring processes to the suggestions in Section 6. She finds several ways to improve them to be more inclusive of Indigenous workers. She works closely with the local community representatives to develop a training program that can be offered locally. She downloads the tips for creating an inclusive workplace, adapts them for this project and uses them in a workshop for supervisors.

Through the first several months of getting the project up and running, the group uses the various sections of the Guide. They find that each of the network members gets different value from the Guide tips and resources.

5. Profile

A joint venture of construction and engineering firms has just won a contract from the federal government for the decommissioning of a former military base in a rural area over the next eight months. DecomCo’s ability to have 30% Indigenous workers was a determining factor in winning the contract. DecomCo wants to expand its operations into this region and is seeking ways to include local Indigenous employees in its workforce on an ongoing basis.


DecomCo wants to:

  • Create links with the local communities.
  • Investigate the availability of qualified workers in the local community.
  • Include Indigenous employees in its workforce on an ongoing basis to ensure eligibility for future set-aside contracts.

Using the Guide

Janet is the community relations officer for the DecomCo joint venture. Although DecomCo has many successful relationships in other regions, Janet realizes that entering a new region will require forging new relationships and creating new approaches tailored to the local communities. She decides that the Guide can be a useful reminder to her and possibly the source of some new ideas.

Janet starts with the employer tips in Section 2 and the list of Indigenous contacts in the region. She meets with local community representatives, ISET holders and two local colleges. With a good understanding of the supply of labour, she describes a possible training initiative and gains the commitment of the DecomCo management team.

Janet creates an informal Training Program Task Force with representatives of all the stakeholders. As a group, they use the questions in Section 2 to define and describe the training program. They use the suggestions in Sections 3 and 5 to define the target audience and develop a recruitment campaign. They download sample materials and adapt them to the DecomCo project.

Janet is familiar with funding opportunities for training, but finds the information in Section 4 to be a helpful resource in talking with the colleges and the local communities.

The group finds some inspiration and good ideas in the description of the Manitoba Floodway Project. Soon, their own initiative is so successful that they gain local media attention and start to be mentioned as a best practice example.

6. Profile

Southwind is an ISET holder in a large city. It has been successful with a funding proposal to partner with TradesTrain community college to set up an Indigenous pre-apprenticeship training program for construction trades.


Southwind and TradesTrain want to

  • Make links with the local construction industry stakeholders to assess their labour and training needs.

  • Establish a comprehensive training and skill development initiative for local Indigenous workers.

  • Assist employers and program graduates with finding and filling job opportunities and ongoing integration.

  • Evaluate success of the program on an ongoing basis.

Using the Guide

Sandra is the executive director of Southwind and Franca is the director of community initiatives at the TradesTrain college. They quickly realize that this is a large-scale initiative that will require a clear focus and a solid investment of time and energy to make it a success. Their first step is to identify the relevant stakeholders and get started – using Section 2 of the Guide.

From there, they gradually work their way through the entire Guide, picking and choosing the most helpful pieces. They download materials and adapt them. They use the tips to create their own practices and processes. They create workshops and a website blog to support local employers in creating welcoming workplaces. When obstacles arise or momentum slows, they use the case study examples, particularly Trade Winds to Success and the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board, to show their partners what kind of success is within their reach.

When the program is in place, they evaluate its success on an ongoing basis using the tips in the Guide. Sandra, Franca and the stakeholders engage a local journalism student to document their program as a best practice example for others.