Economic Development was the theme of a three day employment and training workshop that took place in Prince George this week.
Dan George of the Aboriginal Development Centre spoke on what he termed economic reconciliation. The way to achieve this is through skills training for First Nations youth.
“What we’re desirous in doing is creating economic action plans that resonate with the regions and territories in our province here and have our people become part of the socio and economic fabric of our territories. Skills training gives us an opportunity to position our young people and our older workers for success giving them the foundational skills that they need to be able to draw down on some of the economic opportunities some of the job openings that are being contemplated by the resource sector.”
Taking part in the forum were members of First Nations from Burns Lake to Prince George and surrounding areas, as well as members of government, industry, and local service providers.
Just last week the provincial government announced it will spend two million dollars over three years to provide skills training to more than one thousand aboriginal people, primarily in northern BC. It’s this funding that will assist First Nations in the region with the skills training they’ll need.
The forum was hosted by the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association, PGNAETA, and the New Relationship Trust. The ladder is an organization out of Vancouver, that invests in First Nations around BC to assist them in capacity building. The organization’s Rochelle Saddleman says skill straining will be essential to economic development for First Nations in Northern BC.
“Skills training is vitally important because there’s so many projects coming up, not just projects but local opportunities for First nations Community members. And communities themselves. So skills training is an integral part of that. In terms of moving communities forward and accessing employment opportunities.”
The emphasis from the conference, making sure youth become involved and receive the education and training they need. It’s something Dan George says can be summed up very simply.
“Well the common saying is that youth is our future, but in fact youth is our here and now.”