Published On: Thursday, 21 January 2016

Aboriginal Skills Training Gains Investment from Province

Aboriginal Skills Training Gains Investment from Province
Members of the Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band), Wet'suwet'en First Nation, Skin Tyee First Nation, and Nee-Tahi-Buhn Indian Band with Minister John Rustad as he announces support for two new Aboriginal skills training programs (Photo Credit: BC Government)

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NORTHERN BC - A series of community-based job skills training courses in northeast B.C. will support First Nations members becoming job-ready for B.C.’s growing liquefied natural gas and natural resource sectors.

The B.C. government is investing $314,000 in the Powering Up for Opportunities Program to assist 40 participants from Fort Nelson and Prophet River First Nations with job and college readiness training, with a focus on gaining employment in natural resource industries.

“Delivering training programs in First Nations communities by educators who understand the priorities of the community helps to set the stage for success," says John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. "It’s a priority for all of us to ensure First Nations members have the education and training they need to access quality jobs provided by LNG and natural resource industries.”

The trades readiness component combines general college readiness courses with introductions to skilled trades including: welding, millwright, electrical and piping. The college readiness component helps adults obtain prerequisites for entry to career, technical and academic programs. Training will be delivered in Fort Nelson by Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT).

NVIT will also deliver a program called Pathways to Success to members of Blueberry River First Nations through a $324,000 investment from the B.C. government. NVIT will deliver the program in Buick Creek, north of Fort St. John.

Pathways to Success will provide 30 participants with the skills training to gain employment in the service and industry sectors. Through classroom instruction followed by assistance with job placement, participants will receive workplace and essential skills upgrades in reading, math and computer skills, as well as credentials in areas such as occupational first aid, food safety, and hazardous materials safety.

A modified Pathways to Success program will also be delivered to members of the Halfway River First Nation through a $97,000 investment. The program will run over six months and provide participants with increased confidence and competence through job readiness training, and the program will have a strong focus on health and wellness. NVIT will deliver the program.

The B.C. government is also investing $323,000 into Tsay Keh Dene Nation’s Workforce Development Initiative, a general skills development program delivered by Tsay Keh Dene in their community.

“This funding will definitely compliment what we have planned in our Workforce Development Strategy in recent years," says Chief Dennis Izony. "With this additional funding, we can enhance the delivery of our education and training programs which has been aimed toward increasing their overall employability of our community members moving forward.”

The Initiative will provide 90 people from Tsay Keh Dene First Nation with academic upgrading, literacy skills, driver training, career exploration and industry-related certifications. Participants will be prepared for a successful transition to further education, training and employment.

An additional $52,000 in government funding will provide members of the Doig River First Nation with the training needed to obtain Class 1 Driver licences. These licences allow holders to drive semi-trailer trucks, which are also known as big rigs or eighteen wheelers.

As well, the funding will enable community members to receive Class 4 driver training. Class 4 licences allow operators to drive buses with a maximum seating capacity of 25 persons, including school buses, special activity buses and special vehicles used to transport people with disabilities.

All four programs are underway and are being funded through B.C.’s LNG-focused Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. The fund supports strategies outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the goal of increasing the number of Aboriginal people in the provincial workforce by 15,000 over the next 10 years.