Venture Development Program to Support First Nation Interests

February 25, 2016

Reading Time: 1.5 Minutes

KITIMAT – Enhancing the skills of Aboriginal people to co-ordinate venture development in their traditional territories leading to job creation and greater prosperity. That’s the primary focus of a new skills training course designed for First Nations along B.C.’s coastal northwest.

As First Nations grow their local economies through business partnerships – including those with liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies – individuals such as elected councilors, economic development and joint venture leads, entrepreneurs, and administration staff may need additional skills to successfully negotiate and manage contracts to protect the interests of their communities. This venture development training course is designed to address that need.

“B.C.’s future prosperity is linked to the successful development of major natural resource projects such as the LNG industry,” says John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “Ensuring First Nations are partners in that development and their communities share in that prosperity is vital. Venture development courses like this move us closer to that goal and will benefit all British Columbians.”

Through the course, 25 Aboriginal participants from the Haisla and other First Nations in northwestern British Columbia can receive instruction in the skills needed to negotiate and successfully manage venture development in a First Nations setting. The course content has been designed by the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers, a non-profit society that is Aboriginal controlled, community based, and membership driven.

“The long-term careers that can be the result of skills training is what will ultimately make the biggest, and longest-term, benefit for our people,” says Ellis Ross, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation. “The Haisla will be independent when our individual members are independent, and nothing is more important to this than a steady pay cheque.”

The course will be delivered in Kitimat by the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT). Funding support of $80,000 for the six-day course is being provided through B.C.’s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund.

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 financial benefits agreements.

Quick Facts:

  • To date, 62 agreements with 29 First Nations have been reached for proposed natural gas pipeline projects in British Columbia.
  • Introduced in 2015, the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund will provide up to $10 million annually over a three-year period for Aboriginal skills training – primarily in northern B.C.
  • 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.
  • A key target of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is to increase Aboriginal workforce participation by 15,000 new Aboriginal workers by 2024.
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