Community-based skills training in northeast British Columbia is helping First Nations prepare for regional job opportunities, including those generated by natural gas development.
British Columbia is investing $338,340 in the Powering Up For Opportunities program to support up to 32 members from Fort Nelson First Nation in either college readiness or professional cook training. Members from Prophet River and Halfway River First Nations also have an opportunity to participate.
The college readiness component helps adults obtain prerequisites for entry to career, technical and academic programs. Courses will help students develop foundational skills in reading, writing, study skills, math and science. Training is delivered by the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) in the Chalo School, located in the Fort Nelson First Nation community.
Cook training is delivered by Northern Lights College at the Chalo School, which houses a state-of-the-art culinary teaching kitchen. The program provides practical skills related to meal planning, knowledge of safety, sanitation and food storage, and credit toward Professional Cook 1 apprenticeship program, as outlined by the Industry Training Authority of British Columbia.
Both programs are underway and are being funded through the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. Offering community-driven skills training is one part of the Province’s efforts to include First Nations communities in new liquefied natural gas sector opportunities. The Province is also working with First Nations on environmental stewardship priorities and financial benefits agreements.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Skills training programs are grounded in the priorities of First Nations communities and designed to address needs of local labour markets. This supports our goal to see First Nations have more opportunities for good jobs and careers as our economy grows.”
Chief Liz Logan, Fort Nelson First Nation –
“Access to meaningful training programs is a significant barrier to our members’ full participation in the local labour market, so projects such as this that are held locally, afford our members the opportunity to build foundational skills, our youth access to dual-credit training, and for all participants to earn accredited trades certification within the support network of family and community. This work is just part of Fort Nelson First Nation’s effort to strike a balance between economic prosperity and environmental and cultural protection.”
John Chenoweth, dean, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology –
“Providing access to accredited post-secondary academic and career training opportunities across B.C. is a priority for NVIT. We look forward to delivering both readiness and foundational programs and training for the learners of the Fort Nelson, Prophet River and Halfway River First Nation communities. NVIT is grateful to be a partner in this endeavour and is excited about the forthcoming opportunity to celebrate, with these communities, the achievements of their learners.”
Mark Heartt, dean of trades and apprenticeships, Northern Lights College –
“This is an exciting collaborative opportunity. Funding support like this is a win-win for everyone involved and will help students get to Level 1 apprenticeship so that they can start to build towards a rewarding career in the food industry.”
- Aboriginal people are a priority in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
- A key target of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is to increase Aboriginal workforce participation by 15,000 new Aboriginal workers by 2024.
- During the past year, more than 1,200 First Nations members received training through programs supported by the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. Another 1,000 will be trained in 2016/17.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
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