A polar bear teaching her cub to hunt seal represents Step 3: Training.

Step 3: Training

Training is a crucial component of a successful community-based climate monitoring project, requiring training investments for both new and existing staff members. Well-trained staff will be better able to carry out all aspects of your project from work plan development to quantitative and qualitative data and information collection, data analysis, and reporting results.

Step 3 will explore some of the skills necessary to effectively manage and implement a climate monitoring project, training opportunities as well as considerations for health and safety within the context of the project.

Why It’s Important

Providing access to training to all team members can increase the chances of success for your monitoring project, ensuring the project remains on-track as planned:

  • Team members will feel included and integrated in the project by having access to skills development, increasing overall morale within the project team.
  • Team members will have a clear understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities both individually and within the project. This can lead to better data/information collection, management, and analysis.
  • Team members will feel confident that they can conduct their activities in a safe manner, by ensuring project-specific health and safety protocols are followed.

Providing training in a variety of areas will enhance the knowledge and technical abilities of your team, which will lead to improved performance and productivity. Training can be delivered in several ways including job shadowing and mentorships, in-person learning, on-line learning, and independent study, among others.

Key Questions and Considerations

Training Needs of the Project Team

The training needed by individual team members will vary depending on the experience of the individuals of your team, your monitoring priorities, knowledge needs, your geographic location as well as your project timeline and budget. You may find that your training needs change over time and therefore it’s important to plan for and invest in ongoing training. In addition, developing an in-house training manual or standard operating procedures can be a helpful resource to support on-boarding and training of new employees.

The following are examples of types of training your team may need to succeed:

  • Project management: Writing proposals, budgeting and work planning; time management; report writing.
  • Technical environmental monitoring planning and procedures: Planning an effective monitoring project, observation, data collection/sampling techniques (in relation to climate, water quality or quantity, fisheries, wildlife, sea or freshwater ice, etc.).
  • Cultural competency: Cultural protocols, Elder interview protocols, ceremony, language, Indigenous laws, and Indigenous Knowledge.
  • Interpersonal skills: Written and oral communication, public speaking, conflict resolution, problem solving, meeting facilitation, interview skills, diplomacy, leadership, active listening, teamwork, and collaboration.
  • Health and safety: Wilderness First Aid, Bear Aware, Firearms Safety, All-Terrain Vehicle Operations, Chainsaw Safety, Pleasure Craft Operator, Swift Water Rescue, Ice Rescue, Working Alone, COVID-19 Protocols, etc.
  • Computer skills, mapping, data analysis, and management: Microsoft Office, mapping software, environmental monitoring software, data management software, and statistics.
  • Climate change awareness: Traditional Ecological Knowledge, weather and climate change science, climate change impacts, climate change adaptation, climate action, etc.

Accessing Opportunities

When determining what training members of the project team may need, it can be helpful to be aware of the different styles of training:

  • Formal training: Typically offered by an academic institution or training provider (not-for-profit or for-profit organization). Formal training can take place outdoors, in a classroom workshop, or in an on-line environment. Training by a formal provider usually results in the participant receiving a certificate, diploma, or degree.
  • Informal training: Typically received through interactions with colleagues, peers, Knowledge keepers or Elders. These interactions can take place within the community, on-the-land, through gatherings, etc.. In these situations, knowledge and/or skills is usually transferred through knowledge exchange, mentorship, and guidance.

Training and Education Programs

There are many training opportunities available depending on your needs. Training opportunities are often short in duration and can range from a few hours to a few days and in some cases, several weeks. Some training and certification programs may be more accessible than others, depending on your budget, geographic location, access to internet and/or ability to travel. You may have a need to develop a tailored training program if you can’t identify training that suits your needs. In this case, it can be helpful to partner with an outside training provider, research institute and/or academic institution.

There are also opportunities to access training/education at a post-secondary level. Programs can range from 1 to 4 years and offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Some college and university programs have transfer agreements which reduces the amount of time needed to obtain both a diploma and degree. Consult the training inventory where you will find an evergreen (but not exhaustive) list of training opportunities that may be relevant to your project and team needs.

Community Spotlight

Custom Training in Tuktoyaktuk

The Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories) partnered with the Aurora Research Institute to develop their own training program. The purpose of the course was to train community members on how to conduct basic research in the field and included sharing of Traditional Knowledge and western scientific knowledge between instructors and participants. The course involved theory and in-classroom work but also practical skills. The course was open to the community on a first-come, first-served basis and was advertised through posters and social media. The course’s 11 participants were then hired as climate monitors for the community’s climate monitoring project. After the course, participants were given a certificate that counted towards continuing education course credits with Aurora College and could be added to their résumé for future opportunities.

Health and Safety Training

It’s critical to ensure that all project members have the knowledge and/or training so that they can conduct their activities in a safe way and know what to do in the case of an emergency. Health and safety training can help members of the project team prepare for different situations while out on the land, water, or ice, including using any required tools effectively and safely. Your community may already have a well-established health and safety program and organize regular training. To help you determine what kind of health and safety training your project team may need that is not already required by your community, it can be helpful to assess the potential hazards before you head out on the land to your sampling site. Refer to the Health and Safety page to find out more. For specific health and safety training opportunities, please see the Health and Safety section of the training inventory, though it’s important to note that other opportunities exist, so you may wish to conduct your own search.

Helpful Tip

Good Practices for Training

  • Partner experienced staff with new staff to encourage knowledge transfer and mentorship.
  • Explore peer-to-peer mentorship opportunities with other Indigenous communities who are conducting similar work to you.
  • Explore ways to include Elders and support the integration of Indigenous language and culture into your training.
  • If safe to do so, consider hosting training in-community to avoid financial or family related stress. This will also allow you to provide training to a larger group of people or include community members and youth.
  • Repetition is key. Monitors may need refreshers, especially if there’s been a break in monitoring between the seasons. Look for ways to practice skills on the land. This can help with consistency of data collection and processing.