Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, (centre, back row) poses with graduates from the Kitselas First Nation’s training program, following Thursday’s announcement. (Photo Jenna Cocullo)

Haisla members to receive training from Kitselas First Nation

Advanced Education ministry to spend $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

Haisla members will benefit from training provided by the Kitselas First Nation with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training totalling $1.2 million over two years.

Kitselas First Nation chief councillor Judy Gerow said participants will be provided introductory training and industry certifications to 48 participants in Gitaus, east of Terrace.

“With the opportunities in our backyard we felt such excitement and hope because there was the prospect of work,” Gerow said. “But we found that we were running out of Kitselas members to attend the courses so we started opening it up to other First Nations.

Members of Indigenous communities in Prince Rupert will also benefit from the training provided by the Kitselas First Nation.

“We try to work closely with the Haisla, the Nisga’a, Tsimshian Nations. It’s important to be inclusive and work with the City of Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

“In doing so we will bring the whole region together and make it stronger. It’s easier to work together than it is to fight with each other,” added Gerow.

She said with investments by industries such as the LNG sector northwest B.C. would become a lot busier, with tremendous opportunities to secure long-lasting careers in the skilled trades.

“A successful career in the trades translates into economic security for families in our communities.”

The $1.2 million for the Kitselas First Nation is part of $7.5 million pledged by skills and training minister Melanie Mark for six new two-year training programs for Indigenous communities throughout B.C.

“For years, Indigenous leaders have been calling for skills training opportunities closer to home to support their community’s needs and self-determination,” Mark said. “Our government is responding to this call to action by working in partnership with Indigenous communities, the Industry Training Authority and employers.

“These new programs will create pathways for Indigenous workers to take advantage of the tens of thousands of in-demand jobs forecasted in the trades over the next decade.”

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) is providing the trades careers training programs, with funding from the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement (WDA). The programs are estimated to assist more than 475 people and will address community opportunities with courses ranging from exploratory and introductory trades to construction and electrical training.

“These new programs will ensure more individuals have opportunities to access training and become apprentices while giving them the tools to be successful,” said ITA CEO Shelley Gray.

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