Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

Forest industry announces first winner of Skills Award for Indigenous Youth

September 25, 2012

VANCOUVER, Sept. 25, 2012 /CNW/ – The Forest Products Association of
Canada (FPAC) has awarded the first annual Skills Award for Indigenous
Youth to Baillie Redfern, an M.Sc graduate student studying Genome
Science and Technology at the University of British Columbia.

The $2,500 award is targeted at youth from 18 to 25 who are enrolled in
an apprenticeship program, college or in university who are a First
Nations, Métis or Inuit individual with strong academic standing, and
who are committed to their field of study and a career in the
revitalized forest sector. FPAC will also be supporting the Assembly of
First Nations Youth Summit in Saskatchewan in November. This stems from
FPAC’s commitment to hire more Indigenous workers under Vision2020.

“The Metis Nation BC takes pride in acknowledging Baillie Redfern, a
Métis citizen, as well as this initiative by the forest products
industry,” says Bruce Dumont, President of Métis Nation British
Columbia. “It is encouraging to see our youth grow up to become strong
leaders, visionaries, and solid role models to many other young
aspiring Métis. On behalf of the MNBC Board of Directors and Staff, we
congratulate Baillie on her achievement.”

Redfern, a member of the Painted Feather Woodland Metis Tribe in
Ontario, is studying how to utilize bio-ingredients from wood fibre for
use in creating bio-products such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
“There is a large scientific interest in the identification of the
genes and enzymes for the production of forest natural products
and this award has provided me with the opportunity to empower my own
education, and drive my choice to study bio-products,” she says.

“Baillie’s research represents a stellar example of the exciting
bio-potential of the forest products industry and the changing face of
our sector,” says David Lindsay, President and CEO of FPAC. “We are
proud of her accomplishments as a young, Indigenous woman who has
chosen to apply her talents to study the promise of our sector.”

The Youth award builds on the joint FPAC-AFN Business Leadership Award
which has been awarded three times. It recognizes and celebrates
Indigenous entrepreneurs for success in a forest products business that
exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety
performance and the delivery of high-quality products and services.

Vision2020 is aimed at creating more innovative products from wood,
further improving the industry’s environmental reputation and hiring an
additional 60,000 workers. This will include recruiting more
entrepreneurs and skilled workers in rural forestry communities
including Indigenous youth. About 17,000 Indigenous people now work in
the forest products industry, the most of any sector.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers
nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental
affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2%
of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in
hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the


Source: PR Newswire