Forest industry announces new Skills Award for Aboriginal youth


OTTAWA, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is opening nominations for the new Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth.

It will reward a First Nations, Metis or Inuit individual with strong academic standing who is committed to their field of study and to a career in the revitalized forest sector. The $2,500 award is targeted at youth from 18 to 25 who are now enrolled in an apprenticeship program, in college or in university.

"We are delighted to offer this award as part of our desire to attract more Aboriginal youth to the revitalized forest products industry," says Catherine Cobden, the interim President and CEO of FPAC.  "There are now huge career opportunities for those with the skills, knowledge and the desire to work in the sector.  The forest products industry will need tens of thousands of new workers in the next decade and it is vitally important to us that we recruit our neighbours and natural partners in these rural communities: Aboriginal youth."

"Education is an important element of unlocking the full potential of First Nations citizens and Nations. We encourage First Nations youth to pursue further education and skills training so they can demonstrate strong leadership and support the success of their Nations," says National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "This type of award helps support First Nations young people so they can lead the way to a better future for all."

Nominations for the first annual Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth will be open until June 30, 2012. Information on how to apply can be found at:
About 17,000 Aboriginal people now work in the forest products industry, making the sector the largest employer of Aboriginal workers.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.