PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Up to 205 First Nations people in communities stretching from Prince George to Fort Nelson will benefit from new skills training opportunities designed to spark careers in trades and technical jobs such as carpentry, piping, welding, machining and electrical.
Funding of more than $2.1 million is being provided for five projects through B.C.'s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund.
In Fort St. John, a new project designed to help participants with job readiness and education upgrades is benefiting up to 50 people from the Halfway River, Fort Nelson and Prophet River First Nations. The project will run for approximately 42 weeks and is being delivered by the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology at Pink Mountain and the Halfway River Ranch Learning Centre. British Columbia is providing $350,000 in funding support over two years for the project.
Also in Fort St. John, members of the Blueberry River First Nations will benefit from $248,000 in funding for a new program to be delivered in the community by the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. The purpose of the Bridging to Trades training project is to provide up to 24 community members with the opportunity to upgrade their literacy and numeracy skills, receive personal growth training and be introduced to welding, carpentry, machining, and electrical training. The skills-training project will run for approximately 25 weeks.
In the remote community of Tsay Keh Dene, the $470,000 Workforce Development project will provide Aboriginal participants with foundational training, literacy, essential skills and academic upgrading, career exploration and industry related certifications. The program will be delivered at the Tsay Keh Dene Learning Centre. Over two years, up to 69 people will receive academic upgrading, industry recognized training, learners' drivers training and graduated driver's license training.
In Fraser Lake, getting Indigenous workers ready for carpentry apprenticeships is the focus of a new skills training program that will benefit 12 participants from the Stellat'en First Nation and Nadleh Whut'en First Nation. Provincial funding of $355,000 over two years for the training is being provided. The 24-week carpentry program introduces participants to the trade and prepares them for apprenticeship positions or employment in residential, commercial, light industrial or heavy construction. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates receive credit for Industry Training Authority Level 1 Carpentry, which provides the foundation for completion of an apprenticeship and allows entry into a Carpenter Level 2 apprenticeship.
In Fort St. James, $774,000 over two years will support training for members of the Nak'zdli Band, Takla Lake First Nation, Tl'azt'en Nation and Yekooche First Nation. A total of 50 participants will be trained, 36 in essential and transferable skills such as computer literacy, math, English, personal development, safety training and work-experience preparation. Another 14 participants will take the piping trades foundation course and train as plumbers, pipefitters and gasfitters, which is the second-highest occupation group needed for liquefied natural gas construction.
The Aboriginal Skills Training and Development Fund is investing up to $30 million over three years for new skills training projects and partnerships to support First Nation communities. Funded programs are designed with direction from First Nations communities and with collaboration from industry, as well as provincial government and federal government partners.