The Saik’uz First Nation has introduced a holistic employment readiness project for community members that supports personal well-being and career success.
Named ‘a whuz (in the right direction), the project addresses barriers to employment by meeting participant needs that include personal health, affirmation of cultural identity and employability skills.
It is anticipated that the project will open new doors to employment and vocational training. Participants will benefit from foundational training, workplace literacy upgrading, career exploration and acquired safety certificates that will help prepare them for successful transition to fulfilling careers. Leadership and Elders from Saik’uz First Nation will also deliver culturally relevant course content and activities.
Saik’uz First Nation has guided development of the project which is being managed by the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA). The training will be delivered in the Saik’uz First Nation community.
Provincial funding support of $229,000 is being provided through the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund, which is investing up to $30 million over 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 Indigenous people in new LNG sector opportunities. The Province is also working with First Nations communities on environmental stewardship priorities and financial benefits agreements.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Nechako Lakes –
“This project was designed by the Saik’uz community and the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association to meet the specific needs of the Saik’uz community. It’s a partnership we believe will make an impact in people’s lives while strengthening and affirming the importance of Saik’uz cultural identity.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Increasing Aboriginal participation in skills training is critical to the future success of British Columbia. Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing demographic in our province with half under the age of 25. Programs like these will provide Aboriginal people with the skills and work experience necessary to find their fit in our diverse, strong and growing economy."
Chief Stanley Thomas, Saik’uz First Nation –
“The a’whuz program has proven very successful for all the participants. Saik’uz First Nation would like to thank the B.C. government and PGNAETA for their contribution to delivery of the program enabling participants to transition into further skills training or employment.”
Karin Hunt, executive director, Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association –
“The ‘a whuz program provides a solid foundation for citizens of Saik’uz First Nation to achieve their full potential.”
- 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.
Saik’uz First Nation: http://www.saikuz.com/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
The BC Jobs Plan: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association: http://pgnaeta.bc.ca/