Funding for a program to help students from Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation gain new skills to prepare them for careers in the pulp and paper industry has been included in a funding announcement from the provincial government.
The Bridges to Success program has been granted $154,290 under the Aboriginal Community-based Delivery Partnerships Program to provide Tla’amin participants with appropriate training for entry-level positions in the pulp and paper industry.
“With an expected million-plus jobs opening up in BC over the next decade, we need to make sure British Columbians are prepared to fill them,” said Amrik Virk, minister of advanced education, in a media release. “These practical education and training programs will help aboriginal learners gain new skills and help lead to employment opportunities.”
The program will run for 18 weeks and it will be delivered in the Tla’amin community, at Catalyst Paper Corporation’s Powell River division site and at Vancouver Island University’s Powell River campus.
Province-wide, 27 community-based partnership programs totalling nearly $5.6 million are providing education and training opportunities for First Nation learners to develop job-ready skills in a variety of fields, said a ministry spokesperson.
On Vancouver Island, 32 participants will train for jobs in the food and hospitality industry, while 16 others will learn about environmental stewardship and prepare for further post-secondary education. Twelve participants from Tla’amin will train for pulp and paper jobs.
The program was developed in collaboration with partner organizations including the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association.
Under the BC Jobs Plan, the provincial government is committed to providing funding for community-based delivery of programs that meet First Nation learners’ needs, said the spokesperson.