Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Sidney Seymour

Bloodvein, Manitoba
B. Eng., Civil Engineering
Job title: 
Vice-President, Business Development, Ininew Project Management Ltd.

Type(s) of Engineering:

Favourite thing: 

"Meeting people, travelling, working in Aboriginal communities."

sidney seymourThe first time Sidney Seymour heard the word "engineering", he was already into his second career. After high school, he had become an auto mechanic on the advice of his guidance counsellor. With a growing family, he decided he needed a better job, so he went back to school to become a teacher. He was still studying at Brandon University and substituting in his hometown high school when a recruiter from the University of Manitoba Engineering Access Programme (ENGAP), came to town. "He explained what engineering was all about. It was all the courses I loved - math physics, chemistry. I ended up applying.

"Finishing his degree took a little longer than usual, but Mr. Seymour persevered, "I went through some hard times, but I really liked engineering, so it wasn't hard to go back."

All his hard work has paid off. Mr. Seymour is now Vice-President of Ininew Project Management, a company which is 92.5% Indigenous-owned. His job involves a lot of responsibilities including finding new clients, finances and managing projects. Right now he is overseeing the construction of a $5.59 million water treatment plant in God's Lake, Manitoba. This project is particularly satisfying for him because it meets a huge community need, "God's Lake was one of the communities earmarked by Health Canada because of its unsafe drinking water. I get to work in an Aboriginal community on a project which will affect and benefit the lives of people. It's the first time they're going to have safe, running water in their homes." The new water treatment plant should be big enough to serve the people of God's Lake for the next 20 years.

This kind of project is one of the reasons Mr. Seymour thinks it's paramount for young Indigenous people to consider engineering and science as career choices. "We have to be able to design, construct and plan our own communities.

People with engineering backgrounds give us the skill to do this type of job. But if our own people don't have these skills we have to rely on non-Indigenous people who don't understand the communities."He adds, "In high school you're never actually thinking about what you need, only what you can get by with. But education is the only way you're going to develop your potential and find your dreams."

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