Horizon North workers develop the beginnings of a work camp

Work camp training in store for First Nations

Metlakatla is receiving close to $250,000 from the Province of B.C. over the next 44 weeks in an effort to retain home-grown workers

The Metlakatla First Nation is receiving close to $250,000 from the Province of B.C. over the next 44 weeks in an effort to retain home-grown workers from the Nation and northwest British Columbia.

As part of a Labour Market Partnership study designed to recruit workers to the resource sector for long-term employment, Metlakatla Development Corporation is receiving $248,120 in the B.C. Workforce Mobilization: Research and Supports project.

The money is provided to help workers, who have little to no work camp experience, face upcoming challenges.

Focus groups, work camp employer and employee interviews, and surveys will be used for the project on workers already involved in a camp-based environment to base their findings on the recruitment and retaining of those with less experience.

“Historically, First Nations workers have not been highly represented in large-scale resource development projects in the northwest. The purpose of the mobilization project is to reach out to First Nations workers and their families, so they can be better prepared for working life at a camp,” said Harold Leighton, Chief of Metlakatla First Nation in a press release.

“Metlakatla is taking a leadership role to ensure First Nations workers across the province have access to LNG-related jobs, as well as other jobs that require staying in camps.”

The information gathered from the surveys and interviews will then be used to come up with strategies to help prospective First Nations camp workers and their families adjust to the new job. The findings will also be shared with other First Nations and will be available online.

Horizon North is one such workforce accommodation camp and catering company that is exploring developing areas in Prince Rupert and Kitimat near proposed LNG projects, and is also involved in the B.C. Workforce Mobilization Project.

“As a premier workforce accommodation provider, Horizon North understands the value that training videos provide the employee, their families, as well as the employer. Extended periods away from family and friends can be challenging, pre-exposure to the expectations of remote camp life helps prepare potential employees for obstacles they may encounter, increasing their ability to realize success in their role,” said Lorie Johnson, advisor of Aboriginal and community relations at Horizon North Logistics in the release.

“The Metlakatla have put together a solid steering committee that includes industry, camp operators, employment specialists and First Nations, and this group will provide ongoing direction to the project, so that it makes sense for the employer and employees,” added Roger Leclerc and Theresia Lee, both co-chairs of the project steering committee.

The Employment Program of BC is funded by the province and the federal government through the Labour Market Development Agreement.