Aboriginal skills training programs target Northwest and Coast jobs

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

A total of 278 First Nations people will benefit from $4-million in new funding to help them become job ready for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

Over the next three years, a $2.1 million Nisga’a Lisims Path to Employment program will provide training, work experience and entry to trades apprenticeships for 215 participants from the Nisga’a communities. The program covers introduction to trades or carpentry foundational skills, employment placement and work experience, as well as basic job skills and acquiring work skills certificates. These include first aid/CPR, road safety, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and driver training. The program will be administered by the Nisga’a Employment and Skills Training (NEST) Department of the Nisga’a Lisims Government

“Ensuring First Nations members have the training they need to access the good, family supporting jobs that the LNG industry will provide is a priority for all of us,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.  “Through skills training programs like these, more Aboriginal people and communities will benefit from new employment opportunities, improved quality of life and the enhanced prosperity that LNG development is bringing to B.C.”

Over the next three years, a $1.6 million environmental stewardship technicians training program will also be provided to 48 participants from up to 13 First Nations communities on the central and north coast and Haida Gwaii. Participants will receive industry-recognized training and certifications in areas such as environmental monitoring of fish and fish habitat, water, lands and construction sites and conducting inventories of archaeological features. They will also gain knowledge and experience in monitoring environmental compliance, protected area management and small motor servicing. The program will be administered by the Great Bear Initiative Society and Vancouver Island University.

A further investment of $300,000 over the next three years will support the creation of a Gitanyow First Nation Employment and Training Institute which will develop and deliver a range of skills training programs. The funding will also provide 15 Gitanyow members with accredited training in areas such as wildlife monitoring; transportation of dangerous goods; All terrain vehicle (ATV) training, as well as land clearing and construction. The program will be administered by the Gitanyow Huwilp Society.

“The Gitanyow Employment and Training Institute will provide a lasting legacy in our community and ensure that the Gitanyow Huwilp and community benefit from the current development proposed in our Lax’yip (territory),” said Glen Williams/Malii, President and Chief Negotiator, Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs.

All three programs are being funded through the B.C. government’s $30 million Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. The fund supports strategies outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the overall goal of increasing the number of Aboriginal people in the provincial workforce by 15,000 over the next 10 years.

“Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing demographic in our province with half under the age of 25. With the many LNG job openings on the horizon, these new programs will provide Aboriginal people with the skills training and work experience necessary to find their fit in our diverse, strong and growing economy,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

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