A series of community-based job skills training courses in northeast B.C. will support First Nations members becoming job-ready for B.C.’s growing liquefied natural gas and natural resource sectors.
The B.C. government is investing $314,000 in the Powering Up for Opportunities Program to assist 40 participants from Fort Nelson and Prophet River First Nations with job and college readiness training, with a focus on gaining employment in natural resource industries.
The trades readiness component combines general college readiness courses with introductions to skilled trades including: welding, millwright, electrical and piping. The college readiness component helps adults obtain prerequisites for entry to career, technical and academic programs. Training will be delivered in Fort Nelson by Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT).
NVIT will also deliver a program called Pathways to Success to members of Blueberry River First Nations through a $324,000 investment from the B.C. government. NVIT will deliver the program in Buick Creek, north of Fort St. John.
Pathways to Success will provide 30 participants with the skills training to gain employment in the service and industry sectors. Through classroom instruction followed by assistance with job placement, participants will receive workplace and essential skills upgrades in reading, math and computer skills, as well as credentials in areas such as occupational first aid, food safety, and hazardous materials safety.
A modified Pathways to Success program will also be delivered to members of the Halfway River First Nation through a $97,000 investment. The program will run over six months and provide participants with increased confidence and competence through job readiness training, and the program will have a strong focus on health and wellness. NVIT will deliver the program.
The B.C. government is also investing $323,000 into Tsay Keh Dene Nation’s Workforce Development Initiative, a general skills development program delivered by Tsay Keh Dene in their community.
The Workforce Development Initiative will provide 90 people from Tsay Keh Dene First Nation with academic upgrading, literacy skills, driver training, career exploration and industry-related certifications. Participants will be prepared for a successful transition to further education, training and employment.
An additional $52,000 in government funding will provide members of the Doig River First Nation with the training needed to obtain Class 1 Driver licences. These licences allow holders to drive semi-trailer trucks, which are also known as big rigs or eighteen wheelers.
As well, the funding will enable community members to receive Class 4 driver training. Class 4 licences allow operators to drive buses with a maximum seating capacity of 25 persons, including school buses, special activity buses and special vehicles used to transport people with disabilities.
All four programs are underway and are being funded through B.C.’s LNG-focused Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. The fund supports strategies outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the goal of increasing the number of Aboriginal people in the provincial workforce by 15,000 over the next 10 years.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Delivering training programs in First Nations communities by educators who understand the priorities of the community helps to set the stage for success. It’s a priority for all of us to ensure First Nations members have the education and training they need to access quality jobs provided by LNG and natural resource industries.”
Pat Pimm, MLA Peace River North –
“First Nations are important partners in developing our resource economy. These skills training programs will help ensure Aboriginal people are prepared to meet the growing need for skilled workers here in the Peace Region.”
Chief Liz Logan, Fort Nelson First Nation –
“Our people are an untapped resource. Through this project, we will grow the potential of our students so they will be able to begin to realize their own potential. The training will be in our community and focused on the needs of the students. Partnering with an Aboriginal institution ensures this approach. This program will help ensure that FNFN will be able to take their place in today's and tomorrow’s economy.”
Chief Lynette Tsakoza, Prophet River First Nation –
“It’s always good for our young people to have access to education that broadens their horizons. This program will provide skills and training in a variety of trades and encourage our band members to explore potential employment opportunities and achieve job success.”
Chief Marvin Yahey, Blueberry River First Nations –
“I want to thank Councillor Sherry Dominic and the Blueberry First Nations team for their dedication and hard work to bring Pathways to Success to our community. Programs like these will ensure our people have the skills and education they need to be successful in the careers they choose, and to take advantage of a wide range of employment opportunities now, and in the future.”
Chief Dennis Izony, Tsay Keh Dene First Nation –
“This funding will definitely compliment what we have planned in our Workforce Development Strategy in recent years. With this additional funding, we can enhance the delivery of our education and training programs which has been aimed toward increasing their overall employability of our community members moving forward.”
Chief Darlene Hunter, Halfway River First Nation –
“Skills training is a vital part of our future and will help to make our community stronger. Programs like these help to ensure our members and their families will benefit from economic opportunities.”
Chief Trevor Makadahay, Doig River First Nation –
“We are pleased to provide these opportunities for our band members. This training is just one part of our ongoing skills improvement initiative that will allow our members to be competitive in the workforce.”
John Chenoweth, dean, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology –
“This support from the B.C. government is an excellent example of how collaboration between government, post-secondary and First Nation communities may advance the priorities of First Nation communities while also preparing a skilled workforce to close the provincial and national skills gaps.”
- 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 the age of 25 years.
- The participation of Aboriginal people in skills training programs is critical to the economic success of B.C. as a whole.
- Aboriginal participation in apprenticeship training has doubled since 2006.
- To date, more than 2,400 Aboriginal people have accessed trades training and apprenticeship programs through the Industry Training Authority.
- To keep our economy diverse, strong and growing, since September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan has been building on the strengths of our province’s most competitive sectors utilizing our educated and skilled workforce.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/WorkBC/media/WorkBC/Documents/Docs/Booklet_BCsBlueprint_web_140428.pdf
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and First Nations fact sheet: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/jobs-blueprint-and-first-nations
The BC Jobs Plan: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation: gov.bc.ca/arr
Fort Nelson First Nation: fortnelsonfirstnation.org
Blueberry River First Nations: blueberryfn.ca
Tsay Keh Dene First Nation: tsaykeh.com