Sunday, April 20, 2014
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First Nations venture in spotlight

REMO ZACCAGNA

BUSINESS REPORTER

The Chronicle Herald

Industry officials attend presentation by newly formed Memski Projects

Representatives of the Membertou and Eskasoni First Nations had their first opportunity Wednesday to showcase a recently formed company to major industry players.

Earlier this month, Chief Terrance Paul of Membertou and Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni signed a memorandum of agreement officially launching Memski Projects Inc.

Dozens of officials from regional industries attended a briefing at the World Trade and Convention Centre to hear how Memski Projects will work.

“We’re saying to industry that we’ve got two communities with skill sets of different variety and capacities, be it construction, be it fabricators, be it skills and labour force, and … we want to create an avenue where industry can engage First Nations through Memski,” said Steve Parsons, general manager of the Eskasoni corporate division, who introduced the initiative at the briefing.

Memski Projects will be under the direction of the communities’ corporate divisions and will seek to increase employment rates, identify opportunities with new and emerging industries, and spot gaps in the labour force.

“It enables our band members to get workable opportunities within their skill sets,” Parsons said.

The intent of the briefing, which was also organized by the Maritimes Energy Association, was to engage industries involved in major projects in Atlantic Canada, he said.

Following the meeting, Parsons said he felt the message was well-received.

“I think that all indications are that industry are willing to engage — probably didn’t know how — but we’ve created an avenue to come to us collectively as two communities and say ‘What skill sets do you have?’

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