There are many resource development projects that have been proposed throughout B.C., and with them will come jobs and related economic opportunities. However, due to changing markets and slowed approval processes, it’s unclear when these proposed projects will get the green light. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what kind of job training to pursue, or what that might lead to in terms of meaningful, long-term employment.
That’s why a number First Nations communities across B.C. are partnering with federal and provincial governments to invest in development of their local workforces. These development programs teach young workers about career options related to the hands-on skills training and certifications they can receive, while providing job-related resources and support for those who seek it.
Through the combination of these elements, communities will help ensure that local workers are ready and able to take advantage of the employment opportunities created by major projects, while reducing the need to bring in temporary workers from elsewhere.
These partnerships provide some recent examples:
- Government of Canada invests in new Tśzil Learning Centre: The Tśzil Learning Centre is a post-secondary institution aimed at providing education and job training. This allows the Líl̓wat Nation students to aim for higher paying jobs and develops the middle class.
- Saik’uz First Nation partners on skills training: The Saik’uz First Nation will benefit from an employment resource project that helps lead participants into new careers. This is accomplished by providing job training and education upgrade certificates, as well as career exploration and options.
- Canada-B.C. partner to train British Columbians for jobs in northeast B.C.: The Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations have received training opportunities through Thompson Rivers University for potential employment on Site C.
- Energy plan funding for Vancouver Island First Nations: Ditidaht, Lake Cowichan, and Dzawada’enuxw First Nations receive funding to conduct studies that look into clean energy and potential renewables.
The main effort with all of these projects is to promote a sustainable and thriving future, and in some cases that means developing the middle class infrastructure, and in others it means looking into renewables.
Initiatives like these show a promising outlook for how working together with government can accomplish important goals. Investing in a more educated and well-trained community lays the groundwork for sustainable development moving forward – both self-development to make sure workers are ready for the jobs, and to also make sure the jobs go to local workers when the resource projects start.
Moreover, the experience participants receive will not only provide skills in the short term, but prosperity for themselves and their families well into the future.