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NEWS RELEASE · 17th July 2012
Ministry of Jobs
Training opportunities are being offered to more than 30 First Nations people in north central B.C. to help meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the mineral exploration and mining industry.

Twenty participants will have access to two 16-week Mining Industry Certification courses running concurrently at the College of New Caledonia's Fort St. James campus and Prince George campus, starting in October. Another 13 participants will have access to a 15-week Environmental Technician Certificate course delivered by Vancouver Island University on location in Prince George, starting at the end of August.

These training programs are being provided through a Labour Market Sector Solutions project with the Pacific Trail Pipelines Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership (PTP ASEP). This project supports industry needs for skilled labour in regional mining projects and increases the number of trained and qualified First Nations who can be employed as entry level technicians.

PTP ASEP is partnering with several companies and organizations in the delivery of these programs, including:

* O'Brien Training Ltd.

* Carrier Sekani Tribal Council

* First Nations in north central and north west B.C.

* College of New Caledonia

* Vancouver Island University

The Mining Industry Certification course and Environmental Technician Certificate course are supported by $500,000 in funding through the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation is quoted as stating;

"This program is significant for B.C. and its mineral exploration and mining industry. Initiatives that improve work conditions for Aboriginals are greatly beneficial to employers and those taking part in the program, especially as we work to fill the huge number of job openings that will be coming up over the next 10 years."

Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation is quoted as stating;

"Getting the right training is vital when you're looking to find a good job. These training programs will provide the kind of skills development needed to help Aboriginal workers participate fully in B.C.'s booming mineral exploration and mining sector."

Diane Collins, executive director, PTP ASEP is quoted as stating;

"Not only does this program have the potential to change the lives of 33 First Nations participants, but it also helps address the mining sector's need for skilled workers. Those graduating from the program will be able to directly apply what they have learned as they enter the mining industry, giving them the foundation for many more achievements and successes throughout their careers."

Quick Facts:

The objective of the Labour Market Sector Solutions program is to invest in the skills development of eligible participants, while assisting industries/sectors, employers and workers to address labour market needs throughout B.C.

* Over the next decade, British Columbia is projected to have over one million job openings. The BC Jobs Plan will ensure the over $500 million provided annually for labour market and training programs is targeted to meeting regional and industry labour market needs.

* As part of this annual expenditure, B.C. invests approximately $66 million a year - between 2008 and 2014 - in programs and services that help people get the skills they need to fill job opportunities in regions where they live and study. These programs and services are funded through the Canada - B.C. Labour Market Agreement (LMA).

* Over the next decade, occupations in mining are expected to start experiencing shortages of workers.

* One-half of the proposed mines in Canada are located in B.C. Under the BC Jobs Plan, the provincial government has committed to opening eight new mines and nine upgrades and expansions to currently operating mines.

Learn More:

Pacific Trail Pipelines Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership:
http://www.ptpasep.ca/

For more information on the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement, visit: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/labourmarketagreement/

Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/

Looking for a one-stop resource for the working world? Visit WorkBC:
http://www.workbc.ca/