PowerTel Starts Work On Maritime Link
Hires Local Aboriginals

Catalone, NS, Nov.12, 2015… “This week we are starting work on construction of new transmission towers as part of the Maritime Link and we have hired three local Aboriginals this week and expect to hire several more as work ramps up,” said Jamie Smith, Vice President of PowerTel. PowerTel is setting up a work yard on the Louisbourg Highway near Catalone.

PowerTel and the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) have built a strong working relationship over the past year and this partnership included a 15 week Powerline Labourer Training program at Marconi Campus, NSCC. “Now we are hiring these graduates,” said Mr. Smith. Two of the local Aboriginals hired by PowerTel are Collin Denny from Eskasoni (left) and Stephen Lafford from Potlotek First Nation. (in Photo)

PowerTel, an Atlantic Canadian owned company with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,  Newfoundland & Labrador and Ontario, sees their business growing in Atlantic Canada and sees a growing need for skilled workers. “We were approached by MEBO last year to help fill a need we have for skilled workers, and this relationship lead to us partnering with MEBO to train local Aboriginals to work for our company,” said Smith.

Alex Paul, Executive Director at the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office, explained that part of MEBO’s success is how they engage their industry partners in all aspects of their training process, from promotion, recruitment, to design of the training program and also on the job training. “This way, our industry partners are more likely to get the workers they need, with the skills theyneed, and we are more likely to succeed in getting more local Aboriginals employed,” said Paul.

The Economic Benefits Office is also recognized for its extensive system of support for those in training and for those that secure employment. This support system helps ensure individuals complete their training successfully and it helps ensure those that get hired are long-term employees.

One of the largest contracts for the Maritime Link is for the transmission lines and recently Abengoa T & I, was awarded this contract by Emera NL. PowerTel has been contracted by Abengoa to work on the transmission lines that are part of the grounding system.

The Maritime Link involves the construction of a new 500 megawatt transmission line between Newfoundland and Cape Breton. The Project includes two 170 kilometre subsea cables across the Cabot Strait, close to 50 km of overland transmission in Nova Scotia and nearly 300 km of overland transmission on the island of Newfoundland.

Construction of the Maritime Link will require hundreds of workers, through contractors, to build the various components over the next two years. This includes labourers, semi-skilled and skilled tradespeople. MEBO has been preparing for this opportunity for a couple of years, building relationships with several large companies that are bidding on contracts for the Maritime Link. “Now we are seeing results,” said Alex Paul.

The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) is located in Membertou and is working for all 13 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia. MEBO builds relationships with industry, works to understand their needs and works to help fill those needs through training and support. MEBO is focused on large industry in Nova Scotia and seeks to maximize employment and business opportunities for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.