VANCOUVER – B.C.’s Industry Training Authority (ITA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Gitxsan Development Corporation (GDC) to support Gitxsan community members in trades training and achieving red seal accreditation.
“This MOU will allow GDC to support numerous Gitxsan community members in their trades training paths towards Red Seal accreditation,” said Rick Connors, president and CEO of GDC, in a press release. “Over the past quarter, GDC has sponsored carpentry and heavy equipment operators at our Commercial Complex in South Hazelton and looks forward to continuing to support these and other trades training from our new training facility. We are working with training providers to innovate training programs to meet the accreditation standards while ensuring trainees are prepared for jobsites. Workforce ready is our goal.”
Gitxsan are an Indigenous Nation that consists of Frog, Eagle, Wolf, and Fireweed Clans. Each clan consists of a series of independent houses each with their own Hereditary Chief, traditional territories, and fishing sites in Northern British Columbia.
The GDC is the economic vehicle through which the Gitxsan people will exercise their rights affirmed in the 1997 Delgamuukw Supreme Court Judgment on their 33,000 sq km traditional territory. It is the holding company for Gitxsan enterprise and is governed by a board of directors appointed by the trustees of the Gitxsan Lipgyet Trust. The directors manage GDC and oversee each of its operating subsidiaries.
The MOU makes the Gitxsan Development Corporation the sponsor of apprentices working on local projects. The ITA noted that this will ensure employment for its local communities and create an appropriate cultural approach to an apprenticeship pathway and experience.
The Gitxsan group of companies has a history of engaging with a number of industry and First Nation partners throughout northern British Columbia to create training and career opportunities for Indigenous peoples and community members in their respective regions.
“Fostering First Nations, employer, business, and industry collaboration through this partnership will strongly support increased apprenticeships and trades success for Indigenous people of the region,” said Michael Cameron, director of Indigenous initiatives with ITA. “Increasing community-based training and employment raises the profile of trades professions as a high-opportunity career not only Indigenous people but for all British Columbians.”
He added that providing access to quality training and supporting apprentices through to certification, helps apprentices obtain good paying jobs and in turn, increases their standard of living.