More than 200 Aboriginal learners in the Thompson-Okanagan region are receiving training in their communities through programs that provide students with employment readiness, heavy equipment operator and small business development skills.
The programs are delivered through partnerships involving the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, the University of Victoria, the Coldwater, Lower Nicola and Upper Nicola Indian Bands, the Okanagan Indian Education Resources Society, Penticton Indian Band, Okanagan Indian Band, the Lake Division Bands and the Lillooet Tribal Council.
The programs are supported with more than $1.5 million through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships program. The funding includes $400,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education and $1.1 million from the Employment Services and Supports (ESS) stream of the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement.
A total of 348 proposals for funding from 135 individual organizations were submitted to the B.C. government for ESS funding by the application deadline in April 2015. In 2016-17, a total of $43.4 million was provided to the Province for all ESS programs, including the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships programs and programs available through the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.
The Canada-B.C. Job Fund helps ensure training programs give individuals the skills to enter and succeed in the job market. The goal of ESS is to increase the labour market participation of British Columbians by assisting them to prepare for entry to, or return to, sustainable employment.
The programs support the BC Jobs Plan, B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, and the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan (Aboriginal Framework).
The Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships program is also one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.
Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna –
“Community-based training goes a long way towards long-term success – for a lot of students, staying closer to home and their support network is crucial for completing the education they need for in-demand jobs.”
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad –
“Government is committed to ensuring Aboriginal people have the skills they need to benefit from B.C.’s growing economy. Community-based partnerships allow Aboriginal students to train in their communities where the jobs are.”
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake –
“Investing in the training and education of our students is an investment in our community, our families and our province’s future. Trades students become the workers who help to building our strong, growing and diverse economy.”
Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart –
“The B.C. government is working with its partners to connect Aboriginal students with jobs. These community-based programs will help Aboriginal learners prepare for the workforce by providing them with relevant employment skills and helping them to obtain industry certificates.”
Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone –
“Our region is expected to have more than 100,000 job openings over the next ten years. These programs will help connect Aboriginal learners in the Thompson-Okanagan to employment that will support our economy.”
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton –
“Supporting community-based training is one way the B.C. government is investing in the future of Aboriginal students and working to increase the number of credentials awarded to Aboriginal learners.”
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo –
“The B.C. government is working with its partners to provide Aboriginal people with the tools they need to be part of our region’s economy. These partnerships provide learners with training in their communities where the jobs are.”
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology president Ken Tourand –
“As B.C.’s Aboriginal Public Post-Secondary Institute, NVIT delivers accredited programming in First Nation communities and organizations across the Province of B.C. The funding provided through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships program champions access for rural and remote learners to essential skills and training programs. This access is crucial for participants to effectively compete for employment opportunities or to identify and pursue further training and educational goals that support individual efforts to participate in B.C.’s economy.”
Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton –
“Through our continued partnership with the Okanagan Indian Band, we are working together to prepare Aboriginal learners for the next steps in their educational goals. The Essential Skills program provides a strong foundation for a number of different training and education paths for students. This funding is critical because it helps reduce barriers to education and increases opportunities for local students in the North Okanagan.”
University of Victoria, dean of the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, Saul Klein –
“We’re honoured to partner with First Nations to facilitate community-based entrepreneurship training. The skills acquired are applied to new and existing businesses in the area, providing a positive impact on the local economy. The funding from the province helps connect participants to post-secondary opportunities in their region, allowing them to study close to home and benefit from exceptional content that is tailored to the realities of their communities. Graduates of the program are leaders in their communities, opening businesses or providing their expertise to existing companies, helping to grow prosperity in their area.”
BC Jobs Plan and Aboriginal Peoples and First Nations: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/economy/aboriginal-peoples-first-nations/?WT.cg_n=HootSuite
B.C. 2025 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Information/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint/Learn-about-Blueprint.aspx
Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/training_agreements/cjf/index.page?WT.cg_n=HootSuite
Aboriginal Framework: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/aboriginal/policy-framework.htm
A backgrounder follows.