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Skills Ready and All Roads initiatives come together to facilitate cedar planter workshop

The Skills Ready and All Roads initiatives came together this Fall to facilitate a unique workshop in the Kamloops area, with youth aged 13-18 creating cedar planter boxes and copper bracelets.  The two-day workshop connected participants with the All Roads initiative and encouraged them to use their hands combining traditional materials with present-day tools and processes.

The cedar planter box workshop emphasized carpentry, with ornamental copper work on the outside of the box allowing participants to also get a taste of metal work. Youth involved with the workshop experienced First Nations cultural practices through discussion and examined where the materials used in the creation of the planter boxes came from and how materials have been used in the past.

“Skills Ready workshops give participants a chance to work with simple, commonly used tools in a safe environment,” explained Skills Ready Director of Project Operations Rene Ragetli. “The projects are practical and each person takes home their own, uniquely crafted product. The workshops are challenging but fun and are a great way to spark discussion around the range of career options open to young people.”

Participants at the workshop arrived from a number of communities surrounding Kamloops, the Four Directions Secondary School and even from Alberta. Spearheaded by Ragetli and assisted by Indigenous Catalyst Justin Young, the workshop also featured Pat Barringer, a plumbing instructor at Thompson Rivers University, and several staff members from the Four Directions Secondary School program, an alternate learning environment designed to serve secondary students of Aboriginal ancestry.

The completed planter boxes assembled by participants feature both wood and metal materials and allowed youth a hands-on experience in both carpentry and metalwork; the exposure to these trades was implemented to help make the connection between building a planter box from scratch and how creating a product such as the box relates to a potential career in the trades.

“Witnessing our youth fully engaged was so heartwarming,” added Young. “Seeing them get to do something that is not offered as much in our little school was so beautiful. Seeing how happy they were with their projects was so inspiring.”

Following the workshop, further connections to First Nations culture will be made through the planting of native species in the planter boxes.

For more information on Skills Ready, All Roads and the Construction Foundation of BC and its initiatives, please visit

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