Kelowna hosts Indigenous workforce forum

The forum will take place on Oct. 8 and 9

The Okanagan Training Development Council (OTDC) will be hosting its workforce connect forum on Oct. 8 and 9 in Kelowna.

The focus of the forum is to collaborate between businesses, communities and Indigenous organizations to strengthen partnerships across industry and First Nations.

Business owners and community groups from across the Okanagan have been invited to take part in two days of cultural awareness and group discussion activities as part of the event aimed at increasing regional Indigenous participation in apprenticeships and trades.

The OTDC said it believes that open conversations with business leaders, community representatives and training institutions will provide a wider Indigenous worldview and understanding to stakeholders.

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“Fostering an environment that gives indigenous people more control and success in trades training, apprenticeship and employment benefits both our member communities and regional economy,” said Raf DeGuevara, OTDC board chair.

“This forum allows businesses and OTDC to learn from each other and encourages those that haven’t been working with First Nations to work with them.”

Michael Cameron, director of Indigenous initiatives at the Industry Training Authority (ITA), said there’s a lot of value in creating new opportunities that involve Indigenous organizations and individuals in apprenticeships and trades.

“The OTDC Indigenous trades and apprenticeships forum is designed to bridge the understanding the industry has of Indigenous culture, to help forge new partnerships with First Nation communities and to increase the number of Indigenous people being sponsored in an apprenticeship,” said Cameron.

In early 2019, ITA introduced its Indigenous inclusion strategy to reduce the attainment gap of Indigenous apprentices by creating and maintaining more flexible and inclusive training opportunities.

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