The provincial government recently announced funding of $762,446 to support First Nations skills training in Burns Lake.
The province is making sure that First Nations communities have the necessary skills to take part in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector development anticipated for Northern B.C. in future years.
With funding of $365,684, one of the programs will provide members from the Burns Lake Band and Wet’suwet’en First Nation communities with trades-related training.
The bridging to trades program offered at Wet’suwet’en First Nation is running at full capacity with 20 students. The bridging to trades component of the program includes in-classroom instruction as well as hands-on training. The initial classroom time will provide safety certifications, essential skills and career awareness training. The hands-on training includes eight weeks of practical shop time and one week of blended experience across five construction and mechanical trades.
Wet’suwet’en First Nation chief Karen Ogen said these programs and services being funded are part of the keys to success for the overall training and education plan for the nation.
“Our members will be able to gain the skills they need and want, ensuring they are well prepared for employment opportunities as they become available,” she said.
An additional $396,762 is being invested in a seven-month program that will provide an opportunity for 60 participants from the Skin Tyee and Nee-Tahi-Buhn communities to pursue post-secondary opportunities and careers in environmental sciences.
The program includes “stepping stones,” a certificate component with six courses in community-based project planning and foundational skills for project implementation. An environmental field assistant component includes training in wildlife, land and water monitoring. Essential skills in areas such as oral communications, document use and digital technology are also provided.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, said these programs will help close the skills gap and ensure more First Nations members benefit from a strong, diverse and growing economy.
“They will provide highly transferable jobs skills that are valuable for careers in a range of industries, including the direct and indirect jobs being created in the emerging LNG sector,” he said.
Provincial funding for these programs is provided through the Aboriginal skills training development fund, which is investing up to $30 million over the next three years for new Aboriginal skills training projects and partnerships.