Renewable Skills Initiative - Iron & Earth

Renewable Skills Initiative

The Renewable Skills Initiative is designed to build up the workforce required to fill the growing need for skilled solar and wind energy industry workers while empowering our core constituency of fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to enter these industries. The primary trainee target is tradespeople across the spectrum, with a goal of gender parity in our programs.

Phase 1 (Complete)

In Phase 1, Iron & Earth and the Louis Bull Tribe completed the Louis Bull Solar Daycare project, where 10 fossil fuel industry workers and 5 Louis Bull Tribe community members were trained in solar through the installation of an 8kW solar energy system on the roof of the community daycare. 

Trainees installing solar panels at the Louis Bull Solar Daycare project

Cree cross-cultural ceremonies and education were a large part of the project, including a pipe ceremony and a sweat lodge ceremony that many trainees participated in. The Louis Bull Tribe had traditional drummers and dancers as part of the press conference and hosted a community celebration where they served a meal of moose meat and other traditional foods. 

Drumming circle during the Louis Bull Solar Daycare 

Community celebration with traditional moose meat

This project garnered media attention across the world, including stories by the CBC, APTN, Global News, Edmonton Journal (front page story), the Calgary Herald and more. We were also featured as part of the 24 Hours of Climate Reality broadcast as a feature story, reaching half a billion households globally. Green Energy Futures and the David Suzuki Foundation made an inspiring feature  video of the project.

Phase 2 (In progress) 

The goal of Phase 2 is to establish a foundation required to bring similar sustainable energy training programs to over 70 communities and 1000 workers across Canada by 2026.

During Phase 2 Iron & Earth will develop customized sustainable energy programs, test these newly designed programs out for the first time, build capacity to scale training delivery and iterate the programs. Upon program graduation, trainees will be able to participate in solar project design, installation and maintenance. Phase 2 will ensure these trainees are supported over six months to find such job opportunities. 

Iron & Earth was founded and operates on Indigenous land within Treaty Six Territory and Métis Region 4 in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (in Nehiyawewin/Cree), so-called Edmonton. The home of many Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inuk/Inuit.

We pay our respects to all Indigenous Peoples of this land. Through their spiritual and practical relationships with the land, a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community has been created and maintained. We recognize that the transition to a low-carbon future must be led by Indigenous Peoples and that there will be no justice unless we acknowledge and repair our relationship with the land.

We are committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledge that we are always learning and unlearning practices that minimize harm and lead to the development of trust between us and Indigenous Peoples across Nations and urban centers.