Published On: Friday, 25 March 2016

Urban-Aboriginals Receive $2 Million for Skills Training

Urban-Aboriginals Receive $2 Million for Skills Training
More than 40,000 Aboriginal British Columbians live in northern communities and almost half of all Aboriginal people in B.C. are under 25 years old.

NORTHERN BC - Reducing barriers and enhancing access to training and jobs is behind a new partnership with the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) that will serve more than 1,000 Aboriginal people over the next three years.

“The BCAAFC has partnered with the B.C. government ensuring that urban Aboriginals in B.C.’s North have the opportunities and skills needed to participate in the wide range of jobs that will benefit all of our communities,” says BCAAFC Executive Director, Paul Lacerte. “This skills training project will help do that and provide significant benefits for participants and their families who live and are moving to urban communities. We see this as a time of renewed commitment to Aboriginal people living in B.C.’s North.”

The B.C. government is investing $2 million over three years in a skills training project to support Aboriginal people in urban communities in northern B.C. The project will be administered by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres as part of the association’s Five by Five Aboriginal Jobs Strategy.

The target population for the project includes urban, off-reserve Aboriginal individuals in Prince Rupert, Prince George, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Terrace and Smithers, including members of surrounding First Nations who live or access resources off-reserve.

“With the vast majority of Aboriginal people living off-reserve and in urban areas, we need to tailor more skills training programs to meet their needs, especially in northern B.C. where the emerging LNG industry will create thousands of new direct and indirect jobs,” says John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “We want more Aboriginal people to benefit from those jobs, and this project will help to ensure that happens.”

A key component of the project is to establish Five by Five employment centres in seven Aboriginal Friendship Centres across the North. The centres will act as hubs that connect people to employment-related services. Located in urban areas along the liquefied natural gas (LNG) corridor, the centres will provide a range of pre-employment services that support job readiness.

Job placement co-ordinators will provide support to the centres and develop employment advancement and job plans to assist urban Aboriginal people in finding stable employment and economic independence. The co-ordinators will build relationships with local employers, industry and surrounding First Nations to connect urban Aboriginal people to relevant training and in-demand jobs.

The project is funded through B.C.’s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund. Introduced in 2015, it will provide up to $10 million annually over three years for Aboriginal skills training, primarily in northern B.C.

Offering community-driven skills training is one part of the Province’s efforts to include First Nations communities and Aboriginal people in new LNG sector opportunities. B.C. is also working with First Nations communities on environmental stewardship priorities and benefits agreements.