BC’s Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation announced it will be investing $2 million over three years in skills training for urban First Nations in communities across northern BC.
The project will be managed by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres as part of their Five by Five Aboriginal Jobs Strategy.
Minister of Aboriginal Relations John Rustad says the government is focusing on funding training requested by First Nations communities.
“What we’re trying to do is work with First Nations to make sure the skills training fits with what they need. Various nations have come forward with various ideas that they want to see for their people.”
Rustad says the province’s investment in skills training is about preparing a workforce for job opportunities in the LNG sector and elsewhere.
“What we’re trying to do through the training with First Nations associated with liquified natural gas is to make sure we’re front in line to take the jobs that’ll come up for LNG.”
But Rustad says the training is also about more than just LNG.
“We’re going to need people in our workforce, whether LNG comes along or not, we’re going to need to be filling holes,” says Rustad. “Our hope is that, through this training, it will also put First Nations and indigenous people in line for jobs that will come up with LNG but also to have transferrable skill sets that can fill the myriad jobs that will be open really right across the province over the next decade.”
Minister of Jobs Shirley Bond estimates that ⅔ of the province’s workforce will retire in the next decade.
Half of aboriginal people in the province are under 25 years old. Bond says the training will ensure they are well prepared to fill job openings in various sectors across BC.