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Matawa Students Start Ring of Fire Training Program

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THUNDER BAY = Aboriginal - Twenty-one students who are Matawa First Nations community members commenced an 8-week Mining Readiness Program at classroom space offered by Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS) in Thunder Bay.

The program is being delivered by KKETS, the Matawa First Nations tribal council employment and training organization, in partnership with Confederation College through the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) initiative.

RoFATA Training Opportunities

RoFATA has been in existence since July 2013 and has since provided four community-based deliveries of the Mining Readiness Program to four Matawa First Nations communities (Webequie First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, and Cosntance Lake First Nation) from October to December 2013.

Thunder Bay Training

This, however, is the first Thunder Bay-based delivery of any RoFATA programming, with all of these KKETS clients looking ahead to many exciting RoFATA mining training initiatives in 2014.

For example, the RoFATA Environmental Monitor Program is a 24-week training program that will be delivered via Matawa’s own Four Rivers Environmental Services Group, and it is scheduled to commence in spring 2014. As with all RoFATA programs, employment through KKETS partner Noront Resources is the ultimate (and necessary) goal.

The other five First Nations community-based RoFATA Mining Readiness Programs that are scheduled to be delivered in the following Matawa communities include: Ginoogaming First Nation (starting Monday January 20), Long Lake #58 First Nation (starting Monday January 27), Nibinamik First Nation (starting Monday January 27), Aroland First Nation (starting Monday February 3), and Neskantaga First Nation (to start in early February). By April 2014, all nine Matawa communities will have delivered a community-based program, and including the Thunder Bay delivery, there will be close to 160 graduates of the Mining Readiness Program.

The eight-week Mining Readiness Program program typically involve a roster of sixteen clients. The students learn about job readiness in the mining industry, with specific focus on the forthcoming Ring of Fire developments and KKETS partnership, with upcoming employment opportunities highlighted.

RoFATA Partnership with Noront Resources

These will be provided through KKETS partner Noront Resources Ltd., and there is a focus on: health and safety in the mining workplace; history of mining; Aboriginal involvement in mining; industry and employer expectations, taking initiative; working as a team member on the mine site; preparing a resume for the mining industry; numeracy; communications skills; traditional Aboriginal values and mining; and much more.

Local Thunder Bay Elder Sarah Sabourin provided an opening prayer with smudging ceremony to commence the day’s activities in Thunder Bay, while the Shadow Creek drum group provided an opening song.

KKETS Program Administrator/Coordinator Morris Wapoose provided welcoming remarks and insightful guidance to the clients on their first day.

Confederation College and KKETS staff elaborated on future employment and training opportunities for successful Mining Readiness Program students. A luncheon was also enjoyed by the RoFATA students, who were joined by KKETS staff as well as ASAP (Aboriginal Skills & Advancement Program) students. The Mining Readiness Program is characteristically inclusive of traditional Aboriginal values, culture, beliefs, and spiritualty and how these can coexist with mining industry developments through partnership with Matawa First Nations.

The program has come together with a Memorandum of Understanding between Matawa First Nations, Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS), Noront Resources Ltd. and Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology which created The Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) partnership.

RoFATA’s key objective is to provide training-to-employment opportunities to support the Matawa First Nations people.

For Matawa First Nations members who want to get involved

Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA)

Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS)

Suite 200, 2nd Floor 28 Cumberland Street North

Thunder Bay, ON – P7A 4K9

Office: (807) 768-4495 / Cellular: (807) 632-2484

Reception: (807) 768-4470 / Fax: (807) 768-4471

Backgrounder

Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) Press/Media Announcement: Confederation College, August 8, 2013

The Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance received federal funding from the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF) which encourages Aboriginal organizations to create partnerships with government, business and community organizations that drive change, improve skills training and create opportunities for Aboriginal people.

SPF responds to the changing needs and priorities of the labour market while providing opportunities for Aboriginal people to fully participate in Canada’s economy. The Government of Canada is investing $210 million over five years in this partnership-based, opportunity-driven fund.

The Government of Canada also funds the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, which is an integrated approach to Aboriginal labour market programming that links training to labour market demand. The Strategy supports more than 80 Aboriginal organizations in the delivery of programs and services to increase Aboriginal participation in the Canadian labour market. It focuses on three strategic priorities: supporting skills development; fostering partnerships with the private sector and the provinces and territories; and accountability and results. The program was launched in April 2010 with funding of $1.6 billion over five years.

Finally, through the First Nations Job Fund, on-reserve First Nations youth between the ages of 18 to 24 in participating communities who receive Income Assistance and are deemed employable will be able to access the skills and training they need to secure employment. Launched in Economic Action Plan 2013 and administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the Job Fund is being implemented across the country with First Nations communities over three years through a phased-in approach.

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