Vancouver Island University, along with Camosun College, will offer exploratory trades skills foundations courses to 160 indigenous students. (VIU photo)

VIU program to offer indigenous students chance to explore careers in trades

Vancouver Island University, Camosun College providing exploratory trades skills foundations courses

Indigenous students will be able to explore trades training at Vancouver Island University and Camosun College thanks to a program sponsored by the B.C. government and Industry Training Authority B.C.

According to a press release, VIU and Camosun will receive close to $1.4 million over two years to offer “exploratory trades skills foundations courses” to 160 students via the training authority’s indigenous peoples trades training initiative. The program offers First Nations students the chance to explore skills with hands-on experience in 25 fields, including hairstyling, plumbing, welding and carpentry.

The program will be offered to indigenous students of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, said the press release. Money for the program is provided by the Canada-B.C. workforce development agreement and will provide tuition, books and tools to those who qualify.

RELATED: B.C. indigenous communities see funding for trades training

Glynis Steen, VIU’s dean of the faculty of trades and applied technology, said the program will build on her institution’s reputation for supporting First Nations students.

“We are committed to responding to the educational and community development needs of the First Nations communities we serve and one of the goals in our strategic plan is to close the gap for skills training for indigenous peoples,” Steen said in the press release.

“For years, indigenous leaders have been calling for skills training opportunities closer to home to support their community’s needs and self-determination,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, in the press release. “Our government is responding to this call to action by working in partnership with indigenous communities, the Industry Training Authority and employers. These new programs will create pathways for indigenous workers to take advantage of the tens of thousands of in-demand jobs forecasted in the trades over the next decade.”

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