by Richard Perry
When 24 security trainees crossed the stage November 29th to receive their certificates, veteran instructor Mike Kuba marvelled at their accomplishment.
“It’s been a very rare occurrence in my 38-year career that every participant who showed up on day one stuck with the program, not missing one day,” says Kuba. “I’m extremely proud of their effort and commitment. It shows that these 24 are committed to working and staying in their community.”
Community member Atta Emily Johnson says the training was tough, but worth it.
“The two weeks was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to working with you guys – let’s go Bayside!”
23-year-old Stephen Vincent, a self-described computer geek from Antigonish, says the training helped him build a lot of confidence.
“The teamwork and interactivity of the self-defence exercises was really amazing,” he said.
Johnson, Vincent and their fellow graduates will provide security services at the new Bayside Travel Centre, to be opened in early 2020 at Exit 36-B on the TransCanada Highway east of Antigonish.
The development will include a new Band-owned entertainment centre, convenience store, quick-serve restaurants, retail fuel service and a diesel card lock and lounge for long-haul truckers.
Rose Paul, CEO of the Bayside Development Corporation, says the training was funded by a provincial Building Vibrant Communities grant.
“These are Mi’kmaq jobs in a Mi’kmaq-owned business,” says Paul. “These security officers will look back ten years from now and say: ‘We were there at the beginning’. And they will become mentors to others as new business opportunities, like the Goldboro LNG project, come our way.”
Darryl McDonald, director of administration at Paqtnkek, thanked each trainee and their family members. “I see a lot of vibrancy here and elsewhere in business,” he said. “We all need to encourage our younger people to explore opportunities and to follow your lead.”
Four of the graduates – Jenn Stevens, Travis Isadore, Francis Julian and Anoogwa Pictou – have been offered supervisory positions on the security team. They will receive additional training for those roles.
They will be employed by MB2 Universal Security from Membertou First Nation.
Owner Sean Ginnish says the graduates can be proud of their important role in the community, since they will often be the first staff the public will see as they enter the commercial development at the Bayside Travel Centre.
Another group of candidates are being trained for customer service and custodian positions. Community members are advised to follow the Bayside and Paqtnkek Facebook pages for any future job-related announcements. They can also get in touch with the Band’s new native employment officer Charmaine Jesty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 386-2471.