As part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government will invest up to $30 million over the next three years for new Aboriginal skills-training projects and partnerships. Starting this year, up to $10 million annually in new funding will support Aboriginal skills training focused primarily on First Nations communities poised to benefit from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) development. Programs will support B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the overall goal of adding 15,000 more Aboriginal workers to the province’s workforce within 10 years.
“The Aboriginal Skills Training Development Program is a good example of how our government is walking a better path and working in partnership with First Nations to ensure a positive legacy from LNG development,” explained John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
Designed for and with First Nations communities, the $30-million investment in Aboriginal skills training is part of a comprehensive plan to help ensure Aboriginal people and First Nations communities have more opportunities to benefit from the growth of the emerging LNG sector. These opportunities include training pathways to well-paying jobs and economic growth, as well as collaboration on the development of long-term environmental protection and stewardship measures.
“Access to well-paying jobs and economic participation are keys to shared prosperity with First Nations. By increasing funding for Aboriginal skills training, we are promoting greater First Nations participation in a dynamic and rapidly changing labor market,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and Minister Responsible for Labor.
“With one million job openings anticipated by 2022, two-thirds from retirement and one-third from economic growth, Aboriginal people and First Nations communities will be critical to meeting our future workforce demands and keeping our economy diverse, strong and growing.”
Increasing opportunities for skills training and sustainable employment among B.C.’s Aboriginal population and First Nations connected with the LNG sector will be the focus of the program. For example, funded programs may include such things as pipeline construction training, mobile training facilities and certification for heavy-duty equipment operators.
Funds will help address key barriers that First Nations communities face in accessing skills development and labor market programs and services, especially in remote and rural areas. Investments made possible by the new fund will be guided by community-based discussions on labor market and skills training needs with First Nations. The funds will be managed and distributed by the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. The B.C. government will seek to leverage the new funding with additional investments from partners, including the federal government and industry.
- Aboriginal people are a priority in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
- By 2022, one million job openings are expected in the B.C. labor market. A scenario with five LNG plants operating in B.C. would add an additional 100,000 jobs by 2023.
- More than 78% of future jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 43% will be in trades and technical occupations.
- More than 40,000 Aboriginal British Columbians live in northern communities and almost half of all
- Aboriginal people in B.C. are under the age of 25 years.
- The participation of Aboriginal people in skills training programs is critical to the economic success of B.C. as a whole.
- Aboriginal participation in apprenticeship training has doubled since 2006.
- To date, more than 2,400 Aboriginal people have accessed trades training and apprenticeship programs through the Industry Training Authority.
- With Budget 2015, government is extending the BC Training Tax Credit program for an additional three years to the end of 2017.
- To encourage First Nations participation in trades, individual Aboriginal and employer tax credits are being enhanced by 50%.