The B.C. government is investing $515,000 in a pilot training program designed to support Aboriginal digital skills development and greater participation in B.C.’s rapidly growing technology sector.
Bridging to Technology is an innovative approach and part of a larger, comprehensive strategy developed by the First Nations Technology Council that brings together key partners to create meaningful training, mentorship and job-placement opportunities.
The program is designed to enhance career development, refine digital skills, and support First Nations in British Columbia to access economic development opportunities and careers in the technology sector. The pilot program will be delivered in partnership with Seabird College, Coastal Training Centre, Microsoft, Lighthouse Labs and the All Nations Trust Company, with plans to expand to include many partners throughout B.C.
Bridging to Technology includes a professional development component designed to ensure participants already in the workforce have the opportunity to advance their digital skills and create future opportunities, especially those participants working for their communities.
B.C. government funding will specifically support 40 participants taking the professional development component of the program, which is focused on coding, GIS/GPS, and Microsoft Office Specialist certification for advanced digital skills and professional development.
The professional development component of Bridging to Technology is funded through B.C.’s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. Introduced in 2015, the fund is providing up to $10 million annually over three years for Aboriginal skills training.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services –
“Supporting Aboriginal digital-skills development through programs like Bridging to Technology will help to increase the number of talented, Aboriginal professionals working in tech jobs. Our #BCTECH Strategy will develop and attract the highest quality talent by introducing students to tech earlier, adjust training and education in post-secondary institutions and create work experience opportunities.”
Denise Williams, executive director, First Nations Technology Council –
“The launch of our provincial strategy comes after a significant investment of time working with First Nations communities, industry, government and academic institutions to understand the opportunity of digital and connected technologies for Indigenous people.
We know the timing for this strategy is crucial. The technology sector is growing, it needs home grown talent and we make up the youngest, fastest growing demographic of potential innovators in the province. We must seize the opportunity to better connect our communities, build the skills necessary to utilize technologies and create opportunities for everyone, especially our young people, to pursue careers in the technology sector.”
Sam Sullivan, MLA, Vancouver-False Creek–
“The digital-skills upgrading and industry certifications offered through this program will connect Aboriginal learners to employers and jobs in the technology sector both here in our region and throughout B.C.”
- The First Nations Technology Council is a not-for-profit, social enterprise mandated by the 203 First Nations communities in B.C. and endorsed by the First Nations Summit to lead the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities.
- A key target of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is to increase Aboriginal workforce participation by 15,000 new Aboriginal workers by 2024.
- To keep B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing, since September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan has been building on the strengths of the province’s most competitive sectors utilizing it educated and skilled workforce.
First Nations Technology Council: http://www.technologycouncil.ca/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca
Edward HillMinistry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation