Skills training courses offered to members of the Carrier Sekani and Yekooche First Nations are supporting up to 56 Indigenous people to gain the education they need to take advantage of a wide range of jobs in B.C.’s Interior.
Funding for three sets of training programs is being provided through the Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund, a program designed for and with Indigenous communities to meet their needs and provide transferable skills.
In the first of three programs, members from Nak’azdli Whut’en, Tl’azt’en, Takla Lake and Yekooche First Nations will benefit from a range of training programs, thanks to a $560,000 investment.
Programs include foundational courses in piping trades and carpentry delivered by the College of New Caledonia; an office technology course; and Weaving Our Way, an employment readiness program, all delivered by the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association. Programs will benefit up to 36 members and will take place in Fort St. James, as well as the Takla Lake community.
Trades courses provide a training path leading to an apprenticeship certification. Weaving Our Way will help participants overcome barriers to employment and gain skills in finding and maintaining employment. The office technology program will help prepare participants for entry-level careers in clerical, administrative and booking roles in a variety of organizations.
“These programs open pathways to education, apprenticeships and careers which provide life-long benefits to the participants. Investments in skills training are paying off for Indigenous communities, and are a critical component of our efforts to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
British Columbia is also investing $150,000 in carpentry training for eight members of Stellat’en and Nadleh Whut’en First Nations, delivered by the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association in partnership with the College of New Caledonia. Training will be delivered in Fort Fraser and the Stellat’en community.
Participants will receive carpentry-apprenticeship training, which builds on training delivered in the community last year. Practical projects will be done in co-operation with Stellat’en First Nation and program graduates will gain the skills equivalent to that of a second-year apprentice.
“Foundational training, trades-career exploration and safety certificates will help to generate new pathways for First Nations learners to success, including jobs and a better quality of life. This is an investment in the future of our province. Together, we are building a better B.C. for everyone,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
British Columbia is investing $100,000 to support 12 members of Saik’uz First Nation in an Aboriginal Employment Readiness Program, delivered by Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association in the Saik’uz First Nation community.
Participants will receive a range of safety certifications, including transportation of dangerous goods, confined space, fall protection, WHMIS and H2S training in a program which also addresses cultural identity, social connections, and barriers to employment.
The training will provide participants with the skills and required safety accreditation to pursue jobs and careers in construction, the natural resource and transportation industries, or as a stepping stone to further education.
“Yekooche First Nation members have participated and benefited from the skills-training program offered. I am glad members from our nation and nations in the north-central area are able to increase capacity in skills that are needed in our communities. I look forward to more members being involved in this initiative. Musi Cho,” said Chief Allen Joseph, Yekooche First Nation.
- 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
Nadleh Whut’en: nadleh.ca
Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation: nakazdli.wordpress.com
Saik’uz First Nation: saikuz.com
Stellat’en First Nation: stellaten.ca
Takla Lake First Nation; taklafn.ca
Yekooche First Nation: yekooche.com
College of New Caledonia: cnc.bc.ca
Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association: pgnaeta.bc.ca