Indigenous youth graduate from Water First Internship Program

Ten youth from seven First Nations achieve certifications to address drinking water and environmental water challenges.

Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, Manitoulin Island – Ten Indigenous youth were honoured this morning for successfully completing the Water First Internship Program at a graduation ceremony held on the powwow grounds of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation.

“We are very proud of the graduates, who have studied and worked hard since early 2017 to obtain certification in drinking water treatment and environmental water quality monitoring,” said Water First executive director John Millar.

“These young women and men have shown incredible passion and commitment to building sustainable water systems in our communities, and today we honour that passion and commitment,” said Kevin Debassige, technical services manager for the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM).

The Water First Internship provides hands-on training and work experience in water treatment and environmental monitoring to Indigenous youth in their communities, leading to certification as a Water Quality Analyst and Operator-in-Training. These certifications are requirements to sample and test water and to begin to work as a water treatment plant operator.

The Internship was developed in collaboration with UCCMM, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and the Union of Ontario Indians, and delivered in seven First Nations on Manitoulin Island.

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For interviews:

John Millar
Executive Director, Water First
705-994-3456

Kevin Debassige
Technical Services Manager, UCCMM 
705-368-6221


About Water First

Water First is a registered Canadian charity and Canada’s leading NGO dedicated to addressing water challenges in Indigenous communities through training, education and meaningful collaboration.