Charles Wilson showing part of his traditional Gitxsan vest he is sewing himself for graduation from the Bladerunners program next month. The Bladerunners program provides several cities and towns with funding towards education.

Bladerunners providing a future

The Bladerunners program is creating hope in young adults by finding them future work prospects.

The Bladerunners program in Hazelton’s First Nation’s High School (FNHS) is one of many in western Canada creating hope in young adults who previously had few options for future work prospects.

Steve Arnett, Bladerunners representative, returned to Hazelton to share his personal story with students and staff.

“A woman named Grace Nielsen, who I was at a conference with about 12 years ago asked me, ‘where are you from?’,” Arnett said.

“I rattled off a bunch of places I had lived and when I was done she said, ‘yes, where are you from?’”

Arnett told the students about how whenever he spent time around Nielsen she would ask him where he was from and, to him, he thought she was teasing him.

One day it dawned on him to begin researching his ancestry and family he had abandoned when he was 15 years-old.

“I went back to my family about two years ago to visit an uncle who had developed leukemia,”Arnett said.

“I met him at the airport and he came up and gave me a hug and I finally felt like I was home.”

He told the students part of his story to relate to them how important family bonds are to First Nations people and how without them we have no home.

“It is my honour to have anything to do with the Gitxsan people,” Arnett said.

Patty Rubinato, a teacher at the FNHS, added that a large part of knowing who you are is knowing where you come from.

FNHS students have been constructing individual family trees to trace their ancestry.

The funding for  Bladerunners has been in operation since 1994 and comes from the federal and provincial governments, the B.C. jobs plan and ACCESS, the aboriginal community career employment services.

Each community Bladerunners becomes part of has free-reign to form a curriculum or skill-building program that suits the community and student needs.

In Vancouver there are several high-rise buildings needing skilled workers, so the program there trains individuals to become iron workers that will eventually become foremen and lead a crew.

Both Roger’s Arena (formerly GM Place) and the Woodward’s apartment building had several Bladerunners-trained workers involved during construction.

The current Bladerunners program ends in December and another program will begin.

The new program will work in conjunction with a new grocery store owned and operated by the Gitanmaax band.

Nearly every part of the upcoming program will train students to work in a retail grocery environment.

Certificates are a large part of current and upcoming programs, such as, World Host, Serving It Right and Occupational First Aid.

The graduates last June focused on learning elements of the Gitxsan culture that would translate well to the tourism industry.

“The young people that come into the program with a blank resume, leave with skills and qualifications making them readily employable,” Arnett said.

The next portion of Bladerunners will start early in the new year.

To register for the program call the FNHS at 250-842-2248.


Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

VIDEO: TWU runner Yee wins Portland Track Festival

Competitor is most individually decorated Spartans track and field athlete in the program’s history

Olympic gold medalist helps host hockey camp

Also: Smithers Minor Hockey president leaving growing program.

SD54 consults on public space for new Walnut school

At the meeting SD54 showed examples of how other schools used their shared space.

Smithers hotel hazmat incident sends nine to hospital

Most of the people affected by a mistake with pool chemical were children.

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Heat wave could lead to record-breaking electricity use: BC Hydro

Monday was a hot one, and many turned to fans and air conditioners for relief from the heat

BC conservation officers release badger from wolf trap

Badger recovering after being caught in trap near Williams Lake

Private schools continue to top Fraser Institute rankings

Think tank says its ratings are fair to all schools, public and private

Former Somali child refugee fights to stay in Canada

Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review set for today in Halifax

U.S. border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Several Republicans to break from President Donald Trump amid boarder separation issues

AFN chief accused of being too close to Trudeau

Perry Bellegarde insists he is not that close to the Liberals as elections looms

Three injured after industrial explosion in Newfoundland

The roof of the warehouse was blown off in the explosion near St. John’s

Most Read