Lake Babine Nation (LBN) did not want to wait for the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) to possibly establish a campus in northern B.C.
Starting next week, LBN will offer an essential skills training program, which is a laddering course for two NVIT programs that will be offered in January in Burns Lake - camp management certificate and cultural environmental monitoring (which is yet to be confirmed).
“We are quite excited that we have this opportunity,” said Priscilla Crouse, LBN skills training development project coordinator.
“These programs will offer the skills needed for students to prepare for entry into the workforce as both programs are applicable to several industries such as forestry, fisheries, tourism, and mines - all industries that Lake Babine Nation has an interest in or LBN members are seeking employment within.”
The programs will be culturally-inclusive of Lake Babine history, culture and language.
“We intend to have in-classroom elders and traditional knowledge holders present for the duration of the program,” said Crouse. “As well there will be practical approaches for students to gain skills through job shadowing, field trips and community-based projects.”
The programs will be delivered at the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation building on Hwy. 16.
“There will also be off-site programming to accommodate the needs of our culturally-based programming and practical skill building,” said Crouse.
Although LBN members will be given priority in these courses, Crouse said there might be a possibility for non-LBN members to attend these programs.
“If Lake Babine is unable to fill the maximum number of seats , we will extend an invitation to our neighbouring nations to encourage their members to apply to the program,” she said.
However, that may not be the case this year. As of last week, LBN had already received 24 applications and had an interest list of 34 LBN members.
“There has been a tremendous amount of positive response from the community as there has been an identified need for this training for several years,” said Crouse.
The tuition, books and supplies are being covered by LBN for their members. Should seats become available for students who are not members of LBN, they will be required to pay for tuition, books and supplies.
The essential skills training program will be offered in partnership with the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Association.
Although a local group has been working to establish an NVIT campus in Burns Lake, the college currently has no plans to open a campus in the Lakes District.