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Quesnel to host job training program for First Nations youth

Program provides training for jobs in natural resource and hospitality industries
A successful group completed the First Nations Youth Training Program in fall 2017. This year’s program is hosted in Quesnel. Jake Courtney photo

The First Nations Youth Training Program will be taking place in Quesnel this year, running from Aug. 7 to Sept. 7.

The five-week program, which is run by Blue Collar Silviculture, is designed to give indigenous youth the skills and experience they need to be employed in the natural resource and hospitality sectors. It aims to help solve indigenous youth unemployment.

Blue Collar Silviculture partnered with Quesnel Employment Services to fund the project, with funding provided from the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Youth aged 18-25 from First Nations communities across B.C. are eligible to apply for the program. They must also be unemployed and non-EI eligible; not a student; and must have completed school at least up to grade 10 or the equivalent. Room and board as well as transportation costs are covered during the duration of the program.

For those who require it, transportation can also be arranged to and from a participant’s home community at the beginning and end of the program.

READ MORE: Four Quesnel and area First Nations bands host youth conference

According to a press release, Morgan Haines graduated from the program in 2015 and has worked for Blue Collar Silviculture since 2016. She’s also worked as a counsellor in the program for the last two years. She said the program was a valuable experience for her. “It also opened up the doors to me for other occupations in the forestry industry.”

The program started in 2009. It puts an emphasis on giving participants work experience rather than just training.

In the news release, Brenda Gardner, the former general manager of the Nazko First Nations said: “The First Nations Training Program is hands down the best employment training program available for providing opportunities for training and hands-on work.”

Applications are now open. Anyone interested in applying can find more information here.