PRINCE GEORGE - Aboriginal learners in British Columbia's northern communities are developing their job skills in a wide variety of fields - including construction and mining - with support from community-based education and training partnership programs.
"Ensuring that Aboriginal learners are able to get the education they need to enter British Columbia's labour force is an important part of the BC Jobs Plan," said Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. "Aboriginal community-based education and training programs provide an important link that helps support economic growth in northern communities to keep them strong and flourishing."
The investment will help Aboriginal learners develop job-related skills and build careers in the trades. For instance in northern B.C., 24 members of the Nak'azdli First Nation are developing skills they need for jobs in the construction and mining sectors. In the community of Moricetown, participants are learning essential skills that include cook's helper, foundation trades and professional cook training. Twenty-six participants will transition to employment.
"I am pleased that our government was able to be a contributing partner in this important initiative," said Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. "Training and skills development helps ensure Aboriginal youth can access the tools they need to secure employment and participate fully in Canada's economy."
Provincewide, 27 Aboriginal Community-based Delivery Partnership Programs totalling nearly $5.6 million are providing education and training opportunities for Aboriginal learners to develop job-ready skills in a wide variety of fields. The investment will help prepare Aboriginal learners develop job-related skills and build careers in the trades.
Over the last two years the Aboriginal community-based program committed $10 million in Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement funding, $4 million in Ministry of Advanced Education funding and $3 million in pilot project funds from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to support over 50 projects in 39 Aboriginal communities.
"The Aboriginal Community-based Delivery Partnerships Program improves access to education, skills and trades training for Aboriginal students," said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad. "These community-based programs support the BC Jobs Plan and enable Aboriginal British Columbians to gain the knowledge and skills they need to build a strong future for their families and communities, and to take advantage of economic opportunities."
The program was developed in collaboration with partner organizations including the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association.
"Community-based, culturally accessible programming is critical to improving outcomes in Aboriginal education," said First Nations Education Steering Committee president Tyrone McNeill. "This program is contributing to the success of Aboriginal learners, supporting hundreds of students in achieving their education and employment goals. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners under the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework to effectively meet community and learner needs, and strengthen this important support program."
The program was first announced in June 2012 and delivers on the commitments of the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan: 2020 Vision for the Future to improve partnerships between public post-secondary institutions and Aboriginal institutes and communities by 2013. Its goal is to increase the number of Aboriginal learners in rural and remote communities accessing post-secondary education and training programs by 2016.
Under the BC Jobs Plan, government is committed to providing funding for community-based delivery of programs that meet Aboriginal learners' needs.
A backgrounder is available at: http://bit.ly/1c1fB4R
Ministry of Advanced Education