Songhees Nation councillor Gary Sam joins Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Melanie Mark, to sign an agreement securing $655,000 in funding to launch a culinary, hospitality and tourism program on Songhees Nation, in partnership with Camosun College. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Province to kickstart Songhees culinary program

In partnership with Camosun College, two-year plan provides $655,000 for education, reconciliation

The provincial government announced today its commitment to education for Indigenous learners, pledging $655,000 for the launch of a new culinary arts, hospitality and tourism management program on Songhees Nation.

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark – the first Indigenous woman elected to the legislature and to serve as a cabinet minister – delivered the news at the Songhees Wellness Centre, calling it an investment in both education and reconciliation.

“As an Indigenous minister whose grandparents went to residential school, as the first person who ever graduated from high school in my family and went to college and university, I know the power of education,” Mark said. “I know how transformative it is and how impactful it can be on our communities.”

The program will be delivered in the community by Camosun College, so students can stay and learn close to home where their families and supports are, she added.

Today’s announcement is part of a larger action taken by the province to provide $21.1 million through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships Program.

With an estimated 6,210 job openings in the local food-service industry over the the next decade, the program is expected to contribute revenues in excess of $7 million.

Students will receive Professional Cook level 1 certification, two applied tourism and hospitality courses and certificates to boost work placement upon completion. Currently, two members of Songhees Nation are Red Seal apprentices in Camosun’s Hospitality Program.

Executive Chef David Roger with Songhees Seafood and Steam said it was an emotional day.

“This was my goal from the start,” he said, of growing the current operation that includes banquet and catering facilities, a food truck and now an educational element.

“The program we’re developing is for someone to find what they’re most passionate about,” he said. “We’re here as coaches to help them reach their goals.”

The plan is to get back to the basics with a focus on traditional methods like pot cooking, and traditional foods like smoked salmon, fry bread and bannock.

Pastry chef Rachel Robinson already sees the interest growing within the community. “It’s always inspiring to look into Indigenous future,” she said.

Just Posted

Single parent resource centre continues operations in partially-condemned building

Victoria’s 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre moves back into heritage home

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read