First Nations training program axed, hurts rural areas
June 8, 2012 (SMITHERS, B.C.) – An announcement by the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association that it’s closing its doors June 15 is a blow to skills training in rural areas and underscores misguided priorities by the BC Liberals, said Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson today.
“On one hand this government is spending tens of thousands of dollars on their JobFest road show in the northwest, meanwhile organizations like the BC AMTA that supply skills training for job opportunities are closing because of a lack of funding,” said the Stikine MLA. “It makes little sense. How are local people supposed to have the best chance of getting these jobs highlighted in JobsFest if training opportunities aren’t there locally?”
Donaldson points out that the BC AMTA provided training in Dease Lake, a community at the centre of mining exploration and development regionally. He also cited the example of lack of multi-year funding from the advanced education ministry for Northwest Community College’s award winning School of Exploration and Mining as another failing.
“Lack of focus by this government means there has been less community college presence in Dease Lake compared to just two years ago, at a time when high mineral commodity prices are driving dramatically increased activity. The BCAMTA filled a role and now it won’t be there,” said Donaldson, who holds the mining portfolio for the Official Opposition.
The BCAMTA made a compelling presentation to the bipartisan Select Standing Committee on Finance of which Donaldson is deputy chair.
“They made their case for provincial government support very well and the executive director told me she also met with the BC Liberal caucus so the cabinet and Premier should be well aware of the role they play. It highlights that Premier Clark’s jobs plan means little to rural people without a commitment to accessible and affordable skills training and that just isn’t there with this government.”