The Métis Nation of B.C. has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Industry Training Authority to help Métis people get more jobs in the skilled trades.
The MOU, signed Feb. 5, aims to open up access to trades sponsorships, said Michael Cameron, director of Indigenous initiatives for the ITA.
He said the main problem facing some Métis that want to go into the trades is that they have hard time accessing a company that will sponsor them—for various reasons—on their path to becoming a certified tradesworker.
“Now the Métis Nation of B.C. will act as that sponsor,” Cameron told the Cloverdale Reporter. “That sponsorship is so critical to helping (tradesworkers) move along the apprenticeship stream.”
He said the new sponsorship program—to be coordinated and run by the MNBC—will be available to all Métis in B.C.
“ITA has been a strong supporter of Métis people in B.C., and the signing of this MOU ensures that Métis apprentices will always have access to a sponsor as they move through their trades training towards their Red Seal,” said Clara Morin Dal Col, president of MNBC.
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“Completing trades training will have a major impact on not only the individual, but it also sets an example for future generations.”
She added that the MOU is critical as is represents a commitment to Indigenous apprentices by the ITA.
In essence, the ITA will now recognize MNBC as a certified sponsor, just as it does with any company that sponsors tradesworkers.
“It is yet another way that MNBC can support its most valuable resource—its people.”
Morin Dal Col told the Cloverdale Reporter getting an actual sponsorship, and therefore being able to access the apprenticeship programs, has been the biggest barrier facing Métis tradesworkers.
“Not everyone has access to companies that can provide sponsorship,” she said, adding that it is especially difficult in remote areas.
“We can do that now,” she added. “They will be able to continue to move forward, get their certificates, and advance in trades training.”
Cameron noted the new agreement will also aid the ITA.
“This will also help us understand Métis culture better,” he said. “By understanding the culture better, it puts us in a position where we are better able to help break down barriers—to help make it more possible for Métis people to be successful at trades training across B.C.”
He said the partnership will promote collaboration between the Indigenous community, employers, businesses, and the ITA.
“Increasing community- and regional-based training and employment raises the profile of trades professions as a high-opportunity career, not only for Indigenous people but also for all British Columbians.”
MNBC represents roughly 90,000 self-identified Métis people in B.C.
Anyone wishing to find out about the program can call the Métis Nation of B.C. on 1-800-940-1150, visit their webpage mnbc.ca, or call the ITA at 1-866-660-6011, or visit itabc.ca and search for the “Apprenticeship Advisors” link.