News release

Strategy Helps More Aboriginal Peoples Enter Skilled Trades

A new strategy will help more Aboriginal Nova Scotians enter into and complete apprenticeship programs to find careers in the skilled trades.

Provincial and federal government representatives, Aboriginal community representatives and members of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council gathered in Membertou today, May 3, to launch the three-year Nova Scotia Co-ordinated Aboriginal Apprenticeship and Trades Strategy.

The strategy will build on a number of existing programs to provide skills training to prepare people for apprenticeships, registrations into apprenticeship programs and job placements under a streamlined provincial apprenticeship system. Reaching into the communities that need it most, the strategy will promote skilled trades as a rewarding career and provide Aboriginal apprentices with support to succeed in obtaining careers in the skilled trades.

"Nova Scotia's Aboriginal population is a tremendous asset to the workforce in this province," said Mark Parent Labour and Workforce Development Minister. "This joint strategy will help connect more Aboriginal Nova Scotians to the province's apprenticeship system where they can obtain the training they need to find a rewarding career in the skilled trades in Nova Scotia."

The Aboriginal Apprenticeship Strategy brings together key players in Aboriginal human resource development to benefit Nova Scotia industry and Aboriginal communities alike. The initiative's success is the partnership that brings many voices to the table, ensuring the project stays focused on the needs of local Aboriginal communities.

"The Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs have been very supportive of this project from the beginning and are happy to see it become a reality today," said Rick Simon, executive chair of the Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum.

"This program will provide career opportunities for Aboriginal people and give them the opportunity to gain employment here in Nova Scotia, close to their families and their communities."

The strategy will work on- and off-reserve, creating opportunities for men and women of all ages. The strategy takes a local approach to what is becoming a national shortage of skilled trades people. Stopping the brain drain that draws workers away from their communities is an important factor in creating successful outcomes.

"Given the shortage of skilled workers in trades and apprenticeships, it is reassuring that Aboriginal groups both on and off reserve are able to work together on this important initiative," said Grace Conrad, Chief and president of the Native Council of Nova Scotia.

"The initiative is a great start to promoting trades and apprenticeships to Aboriginal Peoples at all stages of life. The Native Council of Nova Scotia is pleased to be a part of this initiative and is committed to work with all partners to bring better awareness of trades to all our Aboriginal Peoples."

The partnership alliance that forms the backbone of the Nova Scotia Co-ordinated Aboriginal Apprenticeship and Trades Strategy, was developed through the Nova Scotia Workforce Connex forum and Navigating Skilled Trades symposium, both held in Membertou in 2006. These two events and the strategy are funded through Human Resources and Social Development Canada's Sector Council Program.

"Aboriginal people want careers and employers understand the business case for recruiting and retaining a skilled, local and diverse workforce inclusive of Aboriginal people," said Kelly Lendsay, president and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council.

"We're working collectively with employers, communities, trainers and governments to build a customized trades and apprenticeship approach that builds on the success of similar models in Canada that have resulted in more than 1000 Aboriginal people entering the trades across Canada since 2000."

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new strategy will help more Aboriginal Nova Scotians enter into and complete apprenticeship programs to find careers in the skilled trades.

Government and Aboriginal representatives gathered in Membertou today, May 3, to launch the three-year Nova Scotia Co- ordinated Aboriginal Apprenticeship and Trades Strategy.

Labour and Workforce Development Minister Mark Parent says this strategy will help connect more Aboriginal Nova Scotians to the province's apprenticeship system.

The strategy will build on a number of existing programs to provide skills training, preparing people for apprenticeships, program registrations and job placements.

The strategy represents 600,000 of federal and provincial funding over a three-year period.

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Media Contact:

Chrissy White
Labour and Workforce Development 902.-424-0011 Cell: 902-430-5063 E-mail:
Chris Rechner
Aboriginal Human Resource Council 780-469-8403 E-mail:
Heather Hughes
Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum 902-895-6385 ext. 232 Email: