The Manitoba government is investing more than $170,000 in a wilderness safety training program to prepare Indigenous people for careers in mining and environmental industries, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.
“This training program will help connect Indigenous people in the north with well-paying jobs and strengthen Indigenous participation in sectors of the economy integral to the region,” said Wishart. “It reaffirms our commitment to provide young people in this province with the tools they need and the hands-on experience necessary to build promising careers.”
The province is partnering with First Nations Mining Economic Development Inc., University College of the North, Northern Manitoba Mining Academy and Workplace Education Manitoba to deliver wilderness safety training for up to 40 individuals from four participating communities: God’s Lake Narrows First Nation, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Marcel Colomb Cree Nation and Mosakahiken Cree Nation.
“Our government is working to build stronger relationships with First Nations communities in order to create new opportunities and lasting partnerships in economic development initiatives that are sustainable,” said Indigenous and Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke. “We understand that Indigenous participation in Manitoba’s economy is integral to the future growth and prosperity of our province.”
The program integrates life and essential skills components into conventional wilderness safety training to develop the foundational skills that are critical to successful employment. Graduates are expected to secure entry-level employment in mining and environmental industries including assisting in early mining exploration activities. Other graduates will advance to formal prospector training.
“Our organization has a vision of building community capacity through the wilderness safety and intensive prospector training programs,” said Chief Jim Tobacco, Mosakahiken Cree Nation, and president, First Nation Mining Economic Development Inc. “It will help to boost creativity to find the next big mine within our ancestral lands.”
Training is currently underway in Mosakahiken Cree Nation and has been completed in God’s Lake Narrows First Nation and Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Marcel Colomb Cree Nation will be the final community to participate.
Mining is the second-largest primary resource sector in Manitoba and one of the largest employers of Indigenous people in the north.