Ensuring more First Nations members have the skills they need to take advantage of job opportunities, especially in the emerging LNG industry – that’s the focus of “NIS TS’EDILH - We Are Moving Forward,” two new Aboriginal skills training programs for members of the Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band), the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Skin Tyee First Nation, and Nee-Tahi-Buhn Indian Band.
With funding of $365,684, one of the programs will provide 50 participants from the Tsil Kaz Koh and Wet’suwet’en First Nation communities with trades-related training. The bridging to trades component of the program includes in-classroom instruction as well as hands-on training. The initial classroom time will provide safety certifications, essential skills and career awareness training.
The hands-on training includes eight weeks of practical shop time, one week of blended experience across five construction and mechanical trades. Additional classroom time will provide participants with information about trades opportunities and familiarize them with the apprenticeship system. The program will be delivered by the College of New Caledonia.
An additional $396,762 is being invested in a seven-month program that will provide an opportunity for 60 participants from the Skin Tyee and Nee-Tahi-Buhn communities to pursue post-secondary opportunities and meaningful careers in environmental sciences while remaining in their communities.
The program includes “Stepping Stones,” a certificate component with six courses in community-based project planning and foundational skills for project implementation. An environmental field assistant component includes training in wildlife, land and water monitoring. Essential skills in areas such as oral communications, document use and digital technology are also provided.
Provincial funding for these programs is provided through the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund which is investing up to $30 million over the next three years for new Aboriginal skills training projects and partnerships.
Offering community-driven skills training is one part of the Province’s efforts to include First Nations communities and Aboriginal people in new LNG sector opportunities. B.C. is also working with First Nations communities on environmental stewardship priorities and financial benefits agreements.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“These programs will help close the skills gap and ensure more First Nations members benefit from a strong, diverse and growing economy. They will provide highly transferable jobs skills that are valuable for careers in a range of industries, including the direct and indirect jobs being created in the emerging LNG sector.”
Chief Karen Ogen, Wet’suwet’en First Nation –
"These programs and services being funded are part of the keys to success for the overall training and education plan for the nation. The programs have been developed based on feedback gathered directly from the members themselves. As a result, our members will be able to gain the skills they need and want, ensuring they are well prepared for employment opportunities as they become available.”
Chief Dan George, Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band) –
"Skills and training have always been part of our culture. It is very important for continuous skills development as the ever challenging environment changes around us. Additionally, teaching the young on our culture and traditional ways has also been a large part of our culture. This announcement which will provide funding dollars to train our people for careers and not short-term jobs, is great. It's vital for our people to have long term jobs so they can work after the pipelines are completed.”
Chief Rene Skin, Skin Tyee First Nation –
“Skin Tyee First Nation is pleased with the Province's investment into this program to help assist in bridging the gap for our Aboriginal people as they prepare to enter the workforce.”
Chief Ray Morris, Nee-Tahi-Buhn First Nation –
“This funding gives us direct control and local authority to train our nation members for opportunities in larger projects.
“Thank-you to the staff of the Lakes District Aboriginal Training to Employment Society and our partners, the Skin Tyee nation.”
Henry Reiser, president, College of New Caledonia –
“We are very grateful to the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations for providing funding to the ‘We are Moving Forward’ skills training programs. The First Nations communities around Burns Lake are important partners in the economic health of Northern British Columbia.
“We need to make sure that they have the necessary skills and training to take part in the economic growth anticipated for Northern B.C. in future years.
“This government funding will go a long way toward making that happen.”
- Aboriginal people are a priority in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
- More than 40,000 Aboriginal British Columbians live in northern communities and almost half of all Aboriginal people in B.C. are under 25 years old.
- A key target of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is to increase Aboriginal workforce participation by 15,000 new Aboriginal workers over the next 10 years.
Wet’suwet’en First Nation: wetsuwetenfirstnation.ca/
Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band): www.burnslakeband.ca/
Skin Tyee First Nation: www.wetsuweten.com/communities/skin-tyee/
Nee-Tahi-Buhn First Nation: www.wetsuweten.com/communities/nee-tahi-buhn/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
The BC Jobs Plan: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/