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Water First

Information for Communities

Training with hands-on learning in the classroom, out on the land and in community water treatment plants.

Benefits to communities

  • 14-20 full-time paid positions, lasting 15 months for young adult community members.
  • One full-time paid, 18-month local coordinator position.
  • 2,000 hours in the classroom, at local water treatment facilities, and out on the land.
  • Including local traditional knowledge, incorporated with community guidance, strengthens the program’s success.
  • Graduates certified as Small Systems Operators and Operators in Training with the ability to obtain their Water Quality Analyst certification, completion of the Entry Level course for Drinking Water Operators, and challenge the Class 1 operator exam.*
  • Graduates trained in environmental water quality sampling.
  • Increased female participation in the water sciences.
  • Increased numbers of local, certified water treatment plant operators.
  • Enhanced sustainability of water treatment plants, local source water and environmental water bodies.

We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with Water First and we welcome the support they bring to our member communities' efforts to provide safe drinking water to residents.

Existing water treatment staff are doing a great job with available resources, and at the same time we all acknowledge the need for more young people to enter the water field.

* Ontario provincial certifications. Water First can adapt to other provinces or territories certification requirements.


Partnership Exploration
and Planning

Community Engagement
Information Sessions

Recruitment and Hiring
(Interns and Local Coordinator)


  • 8+ week-long training workshops
  • Drinking water certification exams
  • Work placements in community water treatment plants
  • Online learning modules
  • Online tutorials
  • Mentoring

Beyond the technical skills

Wrap-around supports such as childcare services and transportation ensure the program works for a diverse set of participants. Interns are also supported in areas such as resume writing, interview prep and employment coaching, while increasing their contacts in the Indigenous water field. Graduates of the program become part of the Water First Alumni Network, which provides continuing career development opportunities and an ever expanding professional network.

Long-term sustainable outcomes

The Internship program helps communities in a meaningful way with sustainable outcomes. Our partners have strengthened capacity in managing and stewarding their water resources for the long term.

Operator in Training Certified
89 %
Female Participation
38 %
Job Placement
90 %

Trust building, meaningful partnerships and lasting results

Water First’s collaborative approach sets us apart. Trust building, meaningful partnerships and lasting results are key strands that are woven together to form Water First’s work. We strive to understand our partner communities’ needs and preferences, and to adapt the design and delivery of our program to unique community circumstances. This approach is critical to program success and leads to strong partnerships and lasting results.

Water First has demonstrated a clear commitment to a First Nations-led approach to address drinking and environmental water issues and continues to manage community partnerships with the utmost respect.

Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay up to date with our programs and how we are making a real difference, one community at a time.

Alumni graduate Amy Waboose working in her community drinking water treatment plant.