Aboriginal learners in British Columbia will have more opportunities to access skills training programs to help them on their career paths, thanks to a further investment of $1.8 million in the Aboriginal Training for Employment Program (ATEP).
This latest investment means an additional 12 service providers are delivering job-related training in essential skills and introductory trades training, along with mentoring, coaching and support through partnerships with public, private and Aboriginal-controlled training organizations throughout B.C.
"We are working to ensure Aboriginal people in British Columbia get the post-secondary education and training that will enable them to access good jobs and fulfil B.C.'s labour needs of the future," said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. "The skills that learners develop in the ATEP programs will be the key that opens doors to employment and creates success for individuals, their families and their communities."
ATEP was introduced in 2010 with an investment of $4 million through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA). By January 2012, more than 500 Aboriginal people had graduated from ATEP programs offered by 17 Aboriginal organizations. Earlier this year, contracts for 11 service providers were renewed and another $2.9 million was invested.
"Our investment in our education opportunities for Aboriginal learners is an investment in the current and future success of British Columbia," said Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. "ATEP is a good example of how we are taking action to increase Aboriginal participation at post-secondary institutions and training programs."
As a direct result of federal LMA funding, thousands of British Columbians are receiving training that will advance their careers, assist in securing new employment and ultimately improve the economic outcomes of individuals in B.C. and Canada. The current agreement expires on March 31, 2014, and B.C. is preparing to enter discussions with the federal government to renew this important agreement and ensure our province has the skilled workforce required to support long-term labour market needs and economic growth.
"Since starting at BCIT, my skills have developed more than I ever thought possible. If there was anything I would say to somebody who was thinking of joining a trades program through ACCESS (Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society) is to just do it," said BCIT student Dylan Clifton. "It is the most rewarding program I have ever been in. When I finished high school and didn't graduate, I never imagined I could end up with such a great career. Thank you for the great opportunity."
"Through the LMA funding, students are experiencing incredible success in trades' foundation programs. Trainees are gaining the skills to successfully enter into first-year apprenticeships with our employer partners," said Helen Boyce, director of ACCESS Trades at BCIT. "Trainees in the current LMA-funded boilermakers program will be going to work after graduation as first-year, boilermaker apprentices. Programs like this not only change the lives of the individuals in these programs, but the community they live and work in."
Under the BC Jobs Plan, government is committed to providing funding for community-based delivery of programs that meet Aboriginal learners' needs. In the summer, a third request for proposals was posted on BC Bid seeking more service providers to bring training and employment opportunities to Aboriginal individuals throughout the province.
- To be eligible for ATEP, participants must be of Aboriginal heritage, 18 years or older, unemployed and not receiving EI benefits, or employed but without a high school diploma.
- Nearly 25,000 students a year who enrol in public post-secondary education identify themselves as Aboriginal, an 18 per cent increase since the Aboriginal Education Strategy was launched in 2007.
Aboriginal Training for Employment Program: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/aboriginal/programs.htm
Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/labourmarketagreement/
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
Skills training for Aboriginal learners
The following service providers have agreements with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology to deliver programs for Aboriginal learners in British Columbia:
Proponent: BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BCAMTA)
Project summary: BCAMTA will train 45 participants in the mining industry on-site at a location near Backwater Mine and are committed to finding employment for 20 participants.
Proponent: First Nations Emergency Services
Communities: Lillooet and surrounding areas
Project summary: Partnered with Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nation to provide fire protection-related training to 20 participants.
Proponent: Ktunaxa Nation Council Society
Communities: Cranbrook and surrounding area
Project summary: Partnered with College of the Rockies to provide a twelve-step program of soft skills, industry certifications and exposure to industry to 12 participants.
Proponent: Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation
Community: Gold River
Project summary: Partnered with Excel Career College and Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. to provide training in the aquaculture industry, in relation to salmon farming, to eight participants. At the end of the six months of training and a two-week practicum, participants will receive a diploma.
Proponent: Nak'azdil Band
Community: Fort St. James
Project summary: Partnered with the College of New Caledonia to provide enhanced job readiness for 18 entry-level employees currently working at the finger joint lumber manufacturing plant and grocery store.
Proponent: Nicola Tribal Association
Project summary: In partnership with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology to provide skills training and job placements for 15 - 20 Nlakapamux participants in Aboriginal locally owned businesses.
Proponent: North East Métis Association
Community: Dawson Creek
Project summary: Provide employment training for eight participants with links to the oil and gas industry, wildlife monitoring, land-use studies and various other Aboriginal-operated businesses.
Proponent: Penticton Indian Band
Project summary: "Footprints to Employment" will train 24 participants and commit to finding employment for 10 participants. It focuses on four primary areas: sales and services; trades; transport and related occupations; forestry and hunting; and art, culture and recreation.
Proponent: Seabird Island Band
Communities: Agassiz / Hope
Project summary: In partnership with Skill Builders Industry Training Group (FortisBC, BCHydro, KinderMorgan Canada and Spectra Energy), Seabird College will deliver the First Nations Utility Training Program to 44 First Nations participants and expect to achieve employment for 26 of the participants.
Proponent: Sto:Lo Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Health
Communities: Fraser Valley / Chilliwack
Project summary: Fifteen participants will access the health-care assistant certificate program, which teaches a variety of health-care skills to individuals so they can assist in patient-care activities.
Proponent: Sto:Lo Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training
Communities: Fraser Valley / Chilliwack
Project summary: Fifteen participants will be able to access the road builder certificate program, which will train students for upcoming road-building projects in contracts between the ILM Projects, highway and roads expansion and various First Nations groups.
Proponent: Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a Institute
Communities: Nass Valley
Project summary: The Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a Institute Office Technology program will provide culturally based, job-related training and support services in office technology and professionalism in the workplace to 15 participants.