Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad today announced $800,000 for skills training to prepare the Gitxsan First Nation for LNG industry jobs.
Hereditary chiefs gathered at the Gitxsan Development Corporation (GDC) building Wednesday morning to hear about the training, which will include courses in camp services, security, construction skills, driver training and occupational first aid.
According to the Minister, it is the biggest share of the B.C. government’s $30 million aboriginal skills training fund given to a First Nation to date.
He said the LNG industry would improve the quality of life for families in the Northwest.
“The good-paying jobs and the shared prosperity that LNG development is bringing to B.C. represent a tremendous opportunity for all of us,” he said.
“It will create thousands of new jobs and become a powerful driver for a growing economy and greater prosperity.”
Although none of the existing pipeline proposals have received final investment decisions, Rustad said the B.C. government was giving First Nations like the Gitxsan a head start by investing in skills training now.
“We thought if we wait for final investment decisions the jobs would be created before we could actually get the training done, so what we wanted to do was to make sure that First Nations have an opportunity to be able to take advantage of them as the opportunities come along,” he said.
There will 168 places for unemployed and underemployed Gitxsan members to participate in the training, which will be delivered in the Hazelton area by the GDC and the Northwest Community College.
Gitxsan Development Corporation president Rick Connors said his organization had provided input on the types of courses being offered.
“We’ve been able to be involved in this entire process which was phenomenal from our perspective, because the last thing we needed with a project like natural gas coming into place was to be dictated which training is going to be provided,” he said.
“Then we’ve got a bunch of people with certificates that wouldn’t even be applicable.”
The training is expected to start mid-2016.
Minister Rustad also announced $68,000 for a domestic violence program for men.
More to come in the Dec. 16 edition of The Interior News.