by Frank Larue
Danette Burden is a carpentry teacher at SIIT, her background showing a distinct penchant for carpentry. In her own words, she’s “… a red seal /Journeyman Carpenter. I pursued my career as a carpenter in 2006 when I had taken a pre-employment carpentry course in Outlook, Saskatchewan that was offered through SIAST. It offered the Level 1 and Level 2 technical training, and a 2-week work practicum. I worked with a couple well-known companies in the 4-years, and was able to get my ticket in 2011. Prior to my schooling with SIAST, I had a computer business diploma, and had most of my high school. I ended up working with SIIT IN 2014 when I had seen an ad for a women in trades instructor posted online. I have always wanted to do something to help make a difference within the indigenous community. I was able to see 11 women graduate a CWP course. A few of them are still working on the trade as a carpenter, and are pursuing their career as a carpenter.”
Burden was born and raised in Edmonton.
“I moved my young family of 4 boys to Saskatchewan in 2005,” she recounts. “We have made Saskatchewan our home. I am a carpenter instructor teaching apprenticeship courses. I have taught Level 1, Level 2, and at the moment I am teaching a Level 3 class. I have also taught a women in trades CWP course in Montréal Lake (2014), a CWP–RRAC program in Mistiwasis (2014), and a steel stud drywall course. I have been employed with SIIT on and off since 2014, where I taught courses. As of September 2016, I was hired as the apprenticeship instructor.”
Finding the right career is never easy, but carpentry had been a natural calling for Burden, and teaching was the perfect move.
“I love teaching and feel I have found my career. Being able to use my skills and knowledge to help others on the path of their careers is very rewarding as an instructor. I feel I am making a difference,” beams Burden. “To see the accomplishment on my students faces when they complete a project, completing a course, or passing a level is very rewarding. I know I have done what I could as an instructor.”
Not only is she happy with her career choice, Saskatchewan has been the right move.
“The post-secondary education for Indigenous students in Saskatchewan is amazing,” affirms Burden. “Being from a large city like Edmonton, and as an Indigenous women, I wish we had as much opportunity as there is here in Saskatchewan. My personal goal is to continue working with Indigenous people and helping better their lives, working towards building their future. By doing what I love doing, it continues to allow my own children to see the importance of helping others.”