Aboriginal learners in British Columbia's Penticton region will have more opportunities to develop in-demand job skills thanks to an expansion of the Aboriginal Training for Employment Program (ATEP).
An 18-month agreement with the Penticton Indian Band will provide employment training through the Footprints to Employment program for 24 participants. Training will focus on four primary areas: sales and services; trades, transport and related occupations; forestry and hunting; and art, culture and recreation. The agreement includes helping 10 participants secure employment at the conclusion of the program.
Under the BC Jobs Plan, government is committed to providing funding for community-based delivery of programs that meet Aboriginal learners' needs. ATEP service providers deliver 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 around B.C.
The program was introduced in 2010 with an investment of $4 million through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement. By January 2012, more than 500 Aboriginal people had graduated from ATEP programs offered by 17 Aboriginal organizations. Earlier this year, 11 service providers' contracts were renewed and another $2.9 million invested. 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.
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 will expire 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.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology -
"We are focusing on creating an integrated system - one where Aboriginal institutes, post-secondary institutions, and the business community work together. Initiatives like ATEP help to support the BC Jobs Plan and enable Aboriginal British Columbians to gain the knowledge and skills they need to take care of their families, build their communities and be successful in their work and personal lives."
Bill Barisoff, MLA,
"Ensuring that Aboriginal learners are able to get the education they need to be able to join B.C.'s labour force is an important of B.C.'s Jobs Plan. ATEP is providing a vital link that will support economic growth in the Penticton area and keep our community strong and flourishing."
Jonathan Kruger, Chief, Penticton Indian Band -
"Since 2006, the Penticton Band Community has been witness to the excellent professional work and services provided by the Footprints Centre. The centre has been invaluable to Aboriginals seeking to enhance their education and training skills for long term employment opportunities and career development.
"The Footprints to Employment program is helping members gain confidence and skills to decide on careers, find work and increase skills to maintain employment. We have an active employer network giving us input and are developing partnerships such as work experiences at a local businesses. We are moving forward in many areas of development and continuously encourage our members to seek training and education for future employment opportunities."
- 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
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology