A wide range of skills training programs designed by First Nations in north-central B.C. and delivered in their communities are helping members prepare for new jobs and careers across their traditional territories.
Up to 80 members of Witset (Moricetown) First Nation are participating in trades upgrading, business administration, trades and academic certification, university and college entrance preparation, and driver’s licence training. British Columbia is providing $390,000 to the Kyah Wiget Education Society to deliver the training programs in the Witset community.
The Province is also providing $400,000 to support a range of training programs for Wet'suwet'en First Nation and Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake) First Nation. Up to 38 participants are benefitting from parts and warehouse training, professional development, Indigenous negotiations training, a work experience partnership program, and craft construction.
The Yinka Dene Economic Development General Partnership is delivering the training in the Wet'suwet'en and Tsil Kaz Koh communities. Craft construction training will be delivered in Vancouver in partnership with CSWU Local 1611.
“These programs exemplify First Nations, government, industry and post-secondary institutions coming together to deliver education to improve employability and create real opportunities for Indigenous people. Providing the foundations for apprenticeships and further education supports continued success for communities and an improved quality of life for participants,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
“Post-secondary education is key to supporting the aspirations of Indigenous British Columbians,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and MLA for Stikine. “This range of training will help reduce the skills gap and provide education that is needed to better prepare the recipients to meet the labour-market demands of this region.”
The programs are funded through the Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund, and are designed to provide the education and transferable skills that fit the needs of the community, and will provide new opportunities for jobs, careers and further education.
“The skills training funding for Witset is much appreciated because it will develop the capacity of Witset members to gain training needed, which will eventually lead to good job prospects and will increase the self-esteem of participants,” said Chief Victor Jim, Witset First Nation.
“The Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) and Yinka Dene Economic Development Limited Partnership aims to increase our participation in the labour market, ensuring that we are engaged in sustainable, meaningful employment,” said Councillor Ruby Ogen, Wet’suwet’en First Nation. “Knowledge is power, and when our people obtain education and training to upgrade their skills in preparation for a particular job, WFN trainees gain knowledge, specialized and employment. We continue to move forward with pride!”
"Skills and training have always been part of our culture. It is very important for continuous skills development as the ever challenging environment changes around us. Additionally, teaching the young on our culture and traditional ways has also been a large part of our culture,” said Chief Dan George, Tsil Kaz Koh First Nation. “This announcement, which will provide funding dollars to train our people for careers and not short-term jobs, is great. It's vital for our people to have long-term jobs.”
- 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 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
Witset (Moricetown) First Nation: moricetown.ca
Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band): burnslakeband.ca
Yinka Dene Economic Development General Partnership: ydedlp.com