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Apprentices honoured with awards

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Several Yellowknife apprentices were honoured during the GNWT's Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification Awards at the Fieldhouse last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Gaeleen MacPherson, De Beers Canada's superintendent of human resources and administration, far left, and Bruce Spencer, the mine's training co-ordinator, far right, congratulate three of five Snap Lake diamond mine apprentices honoured with top marks awards at a ceremony held by the GNWT's Department of Education, Culture and Employment last week. Between MacPherson and Spencer, from left to right, are apprentices Chris MacNaughton, Vanessa Butcher, and Mabel Bouvier. - photo courtesy of De Beers Canada

The annual event, held by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, recognizes students who achieve top marks within their chosen field and year of study.

Among this year's 23 top earners from Yellowknife - all of whom received their awards from Mike Holmes, host of HGTV's Holmes on Homes - was Mabel Bouvier, now entering her second year of a cook apprenticeship.

Bouvier is gaining her experience at De Beers Canada's Snap Lake diamond mine, where she works as a cook for Bouwa Whee Catering. The company is owned by the Deton'Cho Corporation, the financial arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

"It was a fun time," said the 27-year-old Bouvier of last Thursday's ceremony.

A year-and-a-half ago, Bouvier was working in the Snap Lake kitchen as a general helper. But the lure of a promotion and better pay prompted her to begin her apprenticeship, which initially required two months of class work at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Her end goal? To become a red-seal chef.

She's currently undecided on whether she'll move on from the mine and pursue her talents elsewhere.

"Honestly, I don't really think about that," she said. "I'm kind of one of those people that just lives day to day."

In the meantime, she's enjoying her time at Snap Lake, even if the 12-hour days do get long toward the end of her two-week stints on site.

"I'm learning new things every day up here," she said. And when she's not stirring up the pot, so to speak, "there's lots to do here," she said. "They have game nights and stuff. They have a nice rec room. I go play some ping pong."

Dan Daniels, deputy minister of Education, Culture and Employment, was on hand to cheer the honorees.

"Across our territory, there are over four hundred registered apprentices and another 160 registered in occupational certification programs," said Daniels.

"Those of you receiving awards today represent the top performers in your program areas. This academic excellence is something you should all be very proud of. I know you put a lot of time and effort into your studies."

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