Indigenous people seeking to join the workforce will have more resources available through the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Employment & Training Board (SLAAMB) and a $5,730,241 project announced July 12 by MP Bob Nault on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu.
The project, supported by the Skills Partnership Fund, will train 334 participants in the areas of skilled trades, hospitality, water treatment, information technology, security, health care, and heavy equipment operation. Youth from 25 First Nations will comprise 170 participants under the At Risk Youth Program Initiative.
“We’re trying to get Indigenous people the vital skills and the work experience they need,” Nault explained.
Nault highlighted the construction of electric grids and all-weather roads, and noted he was recently in Weagamow to see the new bridge built allowing people to drive all the way south.
“What that really means to me is the economy is going to start to generate employment and opportunities because of all the development that’s going on, but also the opportunity on the economic development side through mining, forestry, water treatment plants… this $5.7 million dollars is an investment toward making sure that First Nation citizens can be part of that economic and be trained and ready to be employable.”
Nault said the funding was received well, and that SLAAMB has great plans for it. “We need skilled trades,” he concluded.
“We need water treatment operators. We need health care workers. We need heavy equipment operators… Projections are, just in the next decade, there will be 400,000 young Aboriginal people looking for work. So we really do need to participate in working with First Nation communities to prepare young people for what’s to come.”
Ziggy Robert Beady, SLAAMB assistant coordinator, said the funding will be used over several years, and will really benefit Indigenous communities and young people in particular. All 170 spaces for youth have been filled, he said, with the majority undertaking land-based learning and activities to learn skills while connecting with culture.
“I think it’s going to be a good outcome, and I think the funding is really going to help these youth,” he said, noting his gratitude to the federal government for providing the funding.