B.C.’s REnEW program gives participants second chance
September 16, 2015 - The latest participants in British Columbia’s Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) program are learning hands-on construction skills and energy-efficiency fundamentals while helping Habitat for Humanity complete a social housing project in Peachland, B.C.
By Renée Francoeur
The REnEW program provides targeted skill development for people in need of a second chance at employment. It’s jointly funded by FortisBC and the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, and delivered through the John Howard Society of the Central & South Okanagan.
During the six-week program, participants learn the fundamentals of energy-saving construction and receive a number of construction safety certificates. Participants learn under the guidance of instructors from UK Trades, a Kelowna construction company, and receive hands-on training by helping local non-profit organizations make energy-efficient building upgrades or build energy-efficient structures.
At the end of the program, the John Howard Society shows graduates paths to further their education and provides ongoing employment support. New this year, selected program graduates will also have access to two additional weeks of funded work experience with builders affiliated with the Canadian Home Builders Association – Okanagan.
“We are pleased to contribute to REnEW, a unique program that achieves a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. In particular, the participants’ understanding of energy-efficient construction will help improve their communities and British Columbia at large”, said Bill Bennett, minister of Energy and Mines with the province.
REnEW said it has helped more than 130 men and women find work in construction or spur the confidence needed to pursue further education.