Buddy Cardinal is a passionate and experienced leader in Indigenous training in BC, Canada. His passion for what he does is evident as he talks about the many incredibly talented indigenous people he has been privileged to work with and witness their growth and success.

“I was always looking for the next big project.”

As a young adult, Buddy Cardinal began his journey in the construction industry as a carpenter. “Ten years down the road, I wanted to get onto more of the larger projects in the Lower Mainland, but I didn’t have my Red Seal certificate. I went through ACCESS (Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society) Trades and did a carpentry refresh. Then I went back, re-wrote the test, passed, and got my carpentry Red Seal.” With a Red Seal under his belt, Buddy was always looking for the next big project. After working hard in the construction industry for about 17 years, Buddy was in between projects when he discovered ACCESS had a job opportunity in Training and Employment Coaching with the Foundation level students from different organizations such as the EJTC (Electrical Joint Training Committee). “I applied, and that was the beginning of my career with ACCESS.”

“One of the most rewarding things about my job is that I am giving back to the community. I used to build structures, and now I am participating in building the community.”

Fast forward a few years, and Buddy is now an incredibly talented and passionate Director of Trades Training and Apprenticeship at ACCESS. ACCESS is a non-profit organization that provides employment and training services to urban Indigenous peoples while helping them overcome employment barriers and finding rewarding career opportunities. ACCESS works with its students to make sure they succeed. “We have a lot of people who come through who don’t necessarily have the pre-requisites to get into technical training because of some possible barriers. We provide them with the opportunity to make it happen.”

“It’s nice to come to work because there are always people looking to better themselves.”

“We follow the students right until they reach Red Seal. Currently, we have over 500 apprentices in over 46 different trades. In addition to that, we have over 130 people who have achieved Red Seal, and over 50 people have achieved a Certificate of Qualification in non-Red Seal trades.” Buddy’s passion and joy for building and empowering the Indigenous community are clear to see. His personable nature makes him a great person to discuss options, ask questions and is an overall incredible person to get to know. Buddy is here to support and encourage Indigenous peoples all while building a strong and powerful community in the trades industry.

Written by: Savannah Davis, ClearWater Communications Co.