A new program sponsored by the Province of B.C. and the Industry Training Authority BC (ITA) will provide an opportunity for Indigenous students to explore career options in trades at Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan Campus and Camosun College.
Camosun and VIU will receive almost $1.4 million over two years to provide exploratory trades skills foundations courses to 160 participants.
“VIU has a national reputation for supporting Indigenous learners,” says Glynis Steen, dean of VIU’s Faculty of Trades and Applied Technology. “We are committed to responding to the educational and community development needs of the First Nations communities we serve and one of the goals in our strategic plan is to close the gap for skills training for Indigenous peoples.”
The ITA Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training (IPTT) initiative is part of a long-term strategy to match skills to the needs of BC’s workplace. The IPTT program creates an opportunity for Indigenous learners to explore several skills with hands-on experiences in more than 25 trades fields, including carpentry, plumbing, welding, hairstyling and more to help them discover a trade that interests them.
Skilled trades workers make up a significant part of Canada’s workforce and play a vital role in the economies of rural and urban communities. In British Columbia there are thousands of career opportunities in the trades, ranging from cooks and power engineers to carpenters and heavy equipment operators, and demand for trained workers will continue for the next decade.
VIU and Camosun have offered training programs in the skilled trades for several decades.
The IPTT program is open to Indigenous learners of all ages, backgrounds and skills levels. Funding is provided through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement to eligible participants to cover tuition, books and tools.
“For years, Indigenous leaders have been calling for skills training opportunities closer to home to support their community’s needs and self-determination,” says Melanie Mark, minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “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 is committed to building strong partnerships with industry, training providers and Indigenous communities to create innovative programs that enable Indigenous people to gain exposure to the skilled trades and find meaningful careers,” says Shelley Gray, CEO. “These new programs will ensure more individuals have opportunities to access training and become apprentices while giving them the tools to be successful.”
Submitted by VIU