A graduation ceremony and traditional feast helped celebrate the successful completion of a bridging-to-trades, skills training program by members of Tsil Kaz Koh and Wet’suwet’en First Nations communities today.
More than 100 people were on hand for the event which took place at the Wet’suwet’en First Nation Hall. Proud family and community members joined 20 graduating students for the celebration, which showcased student achievements through the community-based program.
The program, offered as a result of B.C.’s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund, included eight weeks of practical shop time and one week of blended trades experience in five construction and mechanical trades: carpentry, piping, welding, electrician and millwright. The initial classroom time provided safety certifications, essential skills and career awareness training. The graduating students now have the basics needed to seek an apprenticeship with an employer or to begin college-level trades training. The program was delivered in the community by the Lakes District College of New Caledonia.
Provincial funding for the program was provided through the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund which is investing up to $30 million over 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 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector employment opportunities. British Columbia is also working with First Nations communities on environmental stewardship priorities and financial benefits agreements.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Ensuring more First Nations members have the skills they need to take advantage of job opportunities, especially the direct and indirect jobs created by the emerging LNG industry, is a priority for our government. That is why we started the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund and it is wonderful to see these students setting themselves up for success in their communities.”
Chief Karen Ogen, Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) –
“On behalf of the WFN council we are proud of the work done by Shannon Haizimsque and Tara Alfred for making this project happen for these students. This is exactly what we discuss at the high level meetings about getting our people trained and out the door. We want meaningful employment and training for our people.
“We believe our people have the potential and it takes someone to believe in them. I want to congratulate our students on this milestone of success. And I challenge them to continue going and go after what they want! A job well done by all the people involved in making this training a reality for our people!"
Chief Dan George, Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band) –
“Congratulations to all the students who completed this program. Building capacity within our communities is essential in meeting the needs derived from our economic development agreements. It is imperative that while we create opportunities for generating wealth, that it is our people who are benefitting directly.
“Thank you to all those who were involved in making this program a huge success and I wish the students the best of luck in their future endeavours, whether it's moving on to post-secondary, trades or seeking apprenticeships. The opportunities are endless and I'm glad to see our people finding a place in the workforce and our economy."
Brent Sampson – graduating student – Bridging to Trades program –
“I am so glad we took this course. Now most of us want to continue our lives as tradesmen.”
Scott Zayac, regional principal, College of New Caledonia –
“We are extremely thankful to the Tsil Kaz Koh and Wet’suwet’en First Nation communities for all their hard work and their assistance in the design of the program. Their added perspectives on culturally relevant components helped us ensure that students were supported throughout the delivery of the program.”
- 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.
- The BC Jobs Plan builds on the strengths of key sectors and British Columbia’s educated and skilled workforce, keeping the province diverse, strong and growing.
Wet’suwet’en First Nation: wetsuwetenfirstnation.ca/
Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band): www.burnslakeband.ca/
College of New Caledonia: http://www.cnc.bc.ca/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint/Learn-about-Blueprint.aspx
The BC Jobs Plan: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/