New initiatives support Indigenous people in trades

Industry Training Authority (ITA) is joining Canadians to celebrate First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and their diverse cultures and contributions.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, and Industry Training Authority (ITA) is joining Canadians to celebrate First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and their diverse cultures and contributions. 

ITA’s main office is located in Richmond on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the XʷMƏΘKʷƏyƏM (Musqueam) People. We value our relationships with all First Nations throughout British Columbia, and we proudly acknowledge each territory at key meetings, ceremonies, visits, and events. 

One of ITA’s guiding values is inclusiveness. We’re committed to First Nation, Métis Nation, and Inuit prosperity and providing equal opportunity to trades training and careers for Indigenous people in B.C. 

Our Indigenous Initiatives team works closely with Indigenous communities, organizations, training providers, and employers across the province to make trades training accessible to rural and urban communities. As we travel around B.C. to discuss community-based trades training, we are continually hearing from Indigenous communities that so much is spent on bringing in outside tradespeople to work on infrastructure projects. These communities have a young, growing population that is poised for lasting success as fully trained and ticketed tradespeople. 

One of our goals is to increase the number of Indigenous people entering and staying in apprenticeships, and we have been working on new initiatives to support that.  

Indigenous Inclusion Strategy
We finalized an ITA Indigenous Inclusion Strategy, which outlines how we’ll incorporate Indigenous world views, culture, knowledge, and traditional practices and foresight into ITA policies, processes, programs, systems, and services. The plan aims to remove current barriers to the success of Indigenous individuals in trades and apprenticeship training. We’re working with Indigenous leaders, communities, and stakeholders to identify ways to improve access to, and success in, trades training—resulting in meaningful employment. 

Indigenous Skills Training Plan
We’re currently working on the ITA Indigenous Skills Training Plan, which supports and aligns with the Indigenous Inclusion Strategy. The plan will outline ITA’s pathway forward from a regional perspective, respecting the diversity and uniqueness of our Indigenous communities, their economies, and their labour needs and demands. 

Professional Cook Level 1
In the spring, we partnered with Okanagan College and the Okanagan Training and Development Council to launch a pilot program that incorporates traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices into the College’s professional cook training program. 

Andrew George, one of our apprenticeship advisors, helped integrate Indigenous information and recipes into the Professional Cook Level 1 program outline. Andrew is a Red Seal Chef and a Hereditary Wing Chief for the Bear Clan in the traditional system of the Wet'suwet'en people. He’s dedicated to helping Indigenous youth access the tools they need to start successful culinary careers.

Indigenous Trades and Apprenticeship Forum 
We’re working with Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) program service delivery organizations to host Indigenous Trades and Apprenticeship Forums across B.C. to develop models for training, recruiting, and retaining Indigenous people in the trades. Employers, educational institutions, unions, associations will be invited to discuss models of successful partnerships and learn about local Indigenous communities.

Mentorship Matters
The B.C.-based Mentorship Matters program is a joint venture between SkillPlan BC and the Electrical Joint Training Committee. ITA is partnering with them to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, beliefs, and world views into the program to help all apprentices and employers remove barriers to success along an individual’s apprenticeship pathway.

Our mission at ITA is to build the trade careers that build B.C. We’re proud that Indigenous people across the province are part of that mission.

If you’re Indigenous and interested in exploring or entering the skilled trades, or you’re an employer interested in hiring and training Indigenous apprentices, visit the Indigenous Peoples in Trades section on our website. 

Do you know an apprentice or employer champion?

The Champions of Apprenticeship are recognized for their outstanding achievements in BC apprenticeship system. These Champions are celebrated for their hard work in creating certified tradesworkers, supporting their industry and promoting apprenticeship. Do you know an outstanding employer sponsor or apprentice? Send us an email and nominate them to become a Champion of Apprenticeship!