More than 250 Aboriginal learners in the Vancouver- Coast Mountain Region are receiving training in their communities through programs that will prepare them for jobs such as early childhood educators and trades such as welders and cooks.
The programs are delivered through partnerships involving Capilano University, Vancouver Island University, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver Community College, Northern Lights College, Thompson Rivers University, the Lil’wat Nation, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council, the Squamish Nation, the Stó:lō Nation and the Seabird Island Band.
The programs are supported with more than $3.38 million through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships program. The funding includes more than $590,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education and more than $2.79 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.
Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson –
“Providing Aboriginal students with the skills that are needed for employment success supports the prosperity of families, communities and our province. With almost one million jobs expected by 2025, our government is preparing Aboriginal students so that they can be first in line.”
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad –
“The B.C. government is committed to increasing access to education and training for Aboriginal students. Community-based training allows Aboriginal students to develop the skills for in-demand jobs while still accessing the home support they need to be successful.”
West Vancouver-Seat to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy –
“Retiring workers and economic expansion are driving the need for skilled workers in the lower mainland. Community-based training and education for Aboriginal students will help meet this need.”
Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness –
“The 2025 Outlook predicts a high-demand for the skilled trades such as cooks and early childhood educators in our region. These community-based training partnerships will help Aboriginal students prepare for these jobs.”
Capilano University president Paul Dangerfield –
“Capilano University is dedicated to Aboriginal students’ success. Our Community-Based Training Partnership program with the Lil’wat Nation provides practical training and work experience to learners where they live.”
Vancouver Island University director of Aboriginal education and engagement Dr. Sharon Hobenshield –
“Thank you to the provincial government for this funding which has allowed VIU to work in partnership with First Nations communities to provide relevant and supportive programs for Indigenous learners that will ensure they have the skills and experience to access the growing number of career opportunities that exist in the area of skilled trades.”
Justice Institute of British Columbia president and CEO Michel Tarko –
“The Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Indigenization Plan aims to provide a supportive, culturally-appropriate atmosphere for Aboriginal students. This funding takes it one step further through our Justice and Public Safety Certificate program, in partnership with Native Education College, which enables Aboriginal students to earn their high school diplomas while also exposing them to possible career opportunities in the justice and public safety fields. An added bonus is the program’s potential to increase the number of recruits from Aboriginal backgrounds into justice and public safety careers.”
Kwantlen Polytechnic University provost and vice president academic Salvador Ferreras, PhD. –
“KPU is proud to collaborate with our provincial government and strong local Aboriginal partners in the region to offer an extensive range of trade-related training for our Aboriginal partners in the Metro Vancouver area. KPU is delighted to play such a meaningful role in providing career opportunities for so many Aboriginal learners in our region. Thanks to genuine community partnerships and timely funding support we have been able to create accessible opportunities for a work-ready, future-focused workforce essential to B.C.’s economic prosperity.”
Vancouver Community College president Peter Nunoda –
“VCC strives to provide Indigenous learners with the highest level of skills training available, so they can excel in their field and achieve their dreams.”
Northern Lights College president Bryn Kulmatycki –
“Community is a word held in high regard in the North – Northern Lights College is pleased to be a part of these community-based partnerships that help Aboriginal learners achieve the credentials they need to pursue employment opportunities locally and give back to the communities they live in.”
Thompson Rivers University president Alan Shaver –
“TRU has a long tradition of delivering trades training to First Nations communities from our campuses and directly with First Nation partners in their home communities. We are pleased to be able to continue meeting the programing needs of these communities and to support the economic sustainability of the region and the province.”
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.