Driver education and trades-training programs are helping ensure Indigenous participants have the skills they need to take advantage of jobs and opportunities in communities on both ends of Highway 16.
British Columbia is providing $300,000 to the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA) to train up to 44 participants, from Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band, in driver education and foundational trades-training programs.
Up to a dozen participants will receive graduated driver’s licence training, and two will receive ICBC certification as driving instructors. Up to 10 participants will receive certification in foundational trades training, safety training and computer literacy, in preparation for apprenticeship training. Additionally, up to 20 participants will receive individualized workforce development services. The programs are being delivered in Prince George.
“Driving and other fundamental skills open new doors for education and employment for Indigenous people,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Providing access to skills training and upgrading in collaboration with Indigenous communities is a priority for our government, and one of the ways we are supporting reconciliation in action.”
“This program is focused on driver education and trades training, which will strengthen our community’s participation in the regional economy,” said Dominic Frederick, Chief of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. “We are glad to be partnered with McLeod Lake Indian Band and PGNAETA as we enter into year three of our agreement with the Province of B.C.”
“The skills-training funds provided by British Columbia will no doubt benefit our youth in attaining their goal to drive a vehicle legally. That in itself is priceless,” said Harley Chingee, Chief of the McLeod Lake Indian Band.
British Columbia is also investing $244,000 to support up to 36 members from the Haisla Nation in receiving graduated driver’s licence training. Another 14 participants will have access to education upgrading courses with a focus on literacy. Training is being delivered by the Kitimat Valley Institute in both Kitimat and Kitamaat Village.
“Our government is ensuring Indigenous people are ready to engage in the workforce and build thriving careers to support themselves and their families,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The training provided will provide skills and accreditation designed to fit the needs of the community and help further education.”
“Haisla Nation Council is pleased to see this investment made for our members to receive driver’s licence training and education upgrading,” said Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation. “These are crucial skills which will make Haisla members even more competitive in the workforce.”
Programs are designed to provide the education and skills that fit the needs of the community, are transferrable and will provide new opportunities for jobs, careers and further education.
- The Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund is providing up to $30 million over three years to support community-driven skills training and education, as identified by Indigenous communities.
- Over the past two years, more than 2,700 Indigenous people have accessed training through projects supported by B.C.’s Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund.
- Of the people trained in 2015-16, a total of 52% have found employment and at least 21% have gone on to further training or education.
- Ensuring that Indigenous people have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities is one part of the Province’s effort to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: gov.bc.ca/irr
Lheidli T’enneh First Nation: lheidli.ca
McLeod Lake Indian Band: mlib.ca
Haisla Nation: haisla.ca
Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association: pgnaeta.bc.ca
Kitimat Valley Institute: kves.ca