Exploring Aboriginal Employment Initiatives In Canada Through The Trades Industry

Exploring Aboriginal Employment Initiatives In Canada Through The Trades Industry


There are plenty of reasons why people should look to the skilled trades for their future careers.

Usually seen as an alternative to college, these paths usually involve flexibility, creativity, a good starting salary, job security, high levels of job satisfaction, lots of career opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, high demand.

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) of British Columbia has placed emphasis on employing Aboriginal women and men in their Aboriginal Initiatives: Journey Through the Trades program.  Since there is a huge demand in Canada for trades workers (especially in British Columbia), certified Aboriginal tradespeople will be able to find work after their apprenticeship in major urban centres.

Through partnering with Aboriginal communities and the trades businesses in BC, the ITA sponsors several entry-level trades programs. The requirements to be eligible for these programs are straight forward – above all, you must be a resident of British Columbia to qualify.  Similar programs for working in the trades in SaskatchewanEdmonton, and Fort McMurray are available if you do not call BC home. Pre-apprenticeship training and skills upgrade programs for Aboriginal peoples are also offered in Alberta.

There are a number of bands and band councils that partner with the ITA, as do fifteen Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training (ASET) holders. The relationship that the ITA has with ASET, bands and band councils has allowed a strong network of contacts and information to be developed throughout BC.  As well as job training, the ASET program also offers job-seeking tools, access to child care, programs for youth and programs for urban Aboriginal peoples.

The ITA program boasts a number of success stories for a variety of different skilled trades. These are stories are supported by several Labour Market Agreement reports.

What if you already have a degree or diploma; is it possible for you to shift towards a career in the skilled trades? Absolutely! The skills you learned during your post-secondary studies can also be beneficial to your future employment in the trades.

Explore more resources – take a look through our Aboriginal Career Guide!