Intern to Operator in just 15 months
The Water First Internship program is supporting Indigenous youth to become leaders in the world of drinking water treatment.
The Water First internship program
A shortage of certified water treatment plant operators leaves many First Nations communities in the same position: limited access to safe, clean drinking water.
A combination of water science training and hands-on experience for Indigenous youth is the key. Together with our community partners, we are supporting young interns to become certified water treatment plant operators to help ensure sustainable, safe drinking water in First Nations communities for the long term.
In 15 months, the internship program provides over 2,000 hours of training in the classroom, at local water treatment facilities, and out on the land. The program is a paid internship that provides hands-on training and skills. Graduates of the program then use their knowledge, skills and credentials to support their communities, providing safe and clean drinking water for future generations.
This program was born from in-depth community guidance and collaboration, which continues throughout implementation. This is more than just a water science training program. It is a true partnership built on a foundation of trust between Water First and our partner communities.
Pairing western science with traditional knowledge creates unique opportunities. And we are focused on achieving lasting results so that First Nations communities can address local water challenges independently, and for the long term.
Bimose Tribal Council & Water First
The Drinking Water program continues to be a priority for many communities, especially now. Clean and safe drinking water is always critical.
There is strong community demand for our program — and with your support, the program is expanding. Last fall we launched a new internship program in partnership with the Bimose Tribal Council in northwestern Ontario. We currently have 18 young Indigenous adults, from 11 participating First Nation communities, training to become certified water plant operators.
COVID-19 has posed serious challenges to our work. Together with the Bimose Tribal Council, we have been navigating our way, from solving issues with communication access to migrating training and study resources online. The response has proven positive and the program continues to be very successful.
“I came here for a job, and ended here with a career.”
Everyone has a role to play
The internship has been welcomed in many communities, and we are committed to an Indigenous-led approach. We are listening to and speaking with many First Nations communities interested in building their local capacity through the Water First internship program. And with your support, our goal is to launch another internship in the coming year, providing vital hands-on training and experience.
Our interns play an important role in increasing water science capacities in First Nations communities, both now and for the future. Together, let’s invest in the next generation of water treatment operators. You can be a part of the solution. Donate now.
Click on an icon to learn a bit about the intern(s) in that community
Latest Drinking Water Stories
July 7th, 2020
At the time of our last newsletter we were pivoting our Internship program to remote and interactive online programming. Now that our interns have a few months of online learning experience we have settled into a routine. Each week, the interns receive a Mission Pack. It includes the week’s lesson, … Read More
June 3rd, 2020
Though it’s relatively well known that many First Nations communities don’t have access to clean drinking water, the complicated reasons why – and relevant solutions – are less than obvious. The Trudeau government is working to end all long-term drinking water advisories, prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term and improve … Read More
News release: Bimose Tribal Council and Water First Announce New Internship to Address Water Challenges in First Nations Communities
March 11th, 2020
Next Generation of Indigenous Water Treatment Workers Are Finding Solutions Through Training in Water Trades and Sciences
The Bimose Tribal Council in northwestern Ontario and Canadian charity Water First Education & Training Inc. announce their partnership to deliver a drinking water treatment and environmental water management internship program for young … Read More