More than 180 Aboriginal learners in the Vancouver Island – B.C. Coast Region are receiving training in their communities through programs that will prepare them for jobs in sectors such as construction, forestry and eco-tourism.
The programs are delivered through partnerships involving Camosun College, the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, North Island College, the Tseycum First Nations, the Pacheedaht First Nation, the Haida First Nation, the Cowichan Tribes, the Stz-uminus First Nation, Heiltsuk Tribal Council, the Nanwakolas Council and the Nuxalk Nation.
The programs are supported with more than $2.5 million through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships program. The funding includes more than $880,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education and almost $1.62 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 –
“The prosperity of our province relies on having access to a broad range of skilled workers, everything from computer programmers, to cooks through to administrative assistants. Our government is providing a range of supports and programs to ensure that Aboriginal students have the skills that they need for these jobs.”
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad –
“The B.C. government is working to connect Aboriginal people with post-secondary education and training in their communities. This will help ensure Aboriginal students have the skills they need for the almost one million jobs to 2025.”
Camosun College president Sherri Bell –
“Camosun College has been partnering with local Nations on Aboriginal community-based partnership training since 2013. These community-based models support students to begin or resume their education in a safe, culturally-familiar setting. It is incredibly powerful to witness the transformations that happen every year as students move through their program and ultimately complete it.”
Vancouver Island University director of Aboriginal education and engagement Dr. Sharon Hobenshield –
“We would like to thank the provincial government for recognizing the importance of funding community-based programming to support Indigenous learners. Programs such as VIU’s Aboriginal Eco-tourism program delivered in partnership with First Nations Communities have a deep and real impact on students, allowing them to learn applied skills in a supportive, culturally-relevant environment that they can then put to work to support the economic and social prosperity of their communities.”
North Island College (NIC) president John Bowman –
“NIC appreciates the opportunity to work with the Nuxalk Nation to provide Adult Upgrading courses and Applied Business Technology programs at the Lip’alhayc Learning Centre in Bella Coola. The funding makes post-secondary education more accessible to students, as they work toward their educational and employment goals in their own community.”
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.