Skills training offered to local First Nations

The Ktunaxa Nation Council and College of the Rockies have partnered to provide access to the Aboriginal Training for Employment Program.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council and College of the Rockies have partnered to provide 12 participants with access to the Aboriginal Training for Employment Program (ATEP).

The 18-month agreement was signed this week and will provide for skills and job opportunity training for 12 Aboriginal participants.

“The Ktunaxa Nation is pleased that Aboriginal learners within Ktunaxa Traditional Territory will have this incredible opportunity available to them,” said Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese. “We are once again very happy to partner with the College of the Rockies as we collectively create a better future for our region.”

ATEP is being expanded to include the 12 new attendees and will provide an introduction to industry and certifications. It was introduced in 2010 through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement. At that time the B.C. government invested $4 million through its BC Jobs Plan. It has previously been available at 17 other Aboriginal organizations and will now be available locally.

As of January more than 500 Aboriginal people have graduated from the program.

MLA for Kootenay East Bill Bennett said ATEP is focused on the needs of Aboriginal students.

“This type of funding, which ensures that Aboriginal learners’ needs are met, is very important,” he said. “ATEP has been very successful in teaching in-demand job skills and I’m very happy to see this program expanded.”

Participants in ATEP must be of Aboriginal heritage and over 18 years of age. They must not be on EI benefits. They can be employed but must not have a high school diploma to qualify. For more information visit http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/aboriginal/programs.htm.