Nisga’a citizens in Terrace, Prince Rupert and the Nass Valley are to benefit from a $2.1 million training program over the next three years.
The goal is to train 215 Nisga’a for jobs within the liquefied natural gas industry, but skills learned can also apply elsewhere said Gary Patsey of Nisga’a Employment Skills and Training (NEST), the Nisga’a Lisims Government agency which is to administer the program.
“This training targets those who require assistance with requisite skills enhancement before attaining industry or trades training and certifications. For these individuals, the training is foundational to further training in any other sector as well,” he said.
Already more than 50 people have applied for training to earn a driver’s licence, considered one of the key first steps toward employment.
“We forecast that as clients work their way up to trades or industry training and gainful or demand driven employment, their quality of life will improve, their family or personal income will improve and acquiring transportation will be a viable option to them,” said Patsey.
The money comes from a provincial government skills training program and was announced in Terrace on Oct. 19. Patsey said child care support will be provided to participants who need it.
NEST anticipates an early November start-up by first hiring people to administer the program.
It will contract out for services it cannot directly provide.
Part of the training will also involve work experience at projects in Nisga’a communities.
“The participants will be provided opportunities to apply their newly-acquired skills, training and strategies in work that benefits the community while enhancing the experience and resume of the clients,” said Patsey.
Training planned so far includes first aid/CPR, road safety and dealing with hazardous materials. Nisga’a Lisims Government president Mitchell Stevens called the training program an important step toward economic development.
“The program adds to the capacity of our people to participate in the major developments that are coming soon to our region,” he said.
As it is, the Lisims government has signed a series of agreements with mining, pipeline and other companies providing business and employment opportunities on their projects.