VANCOUVER, June 6, 2012 /CNW/ - After two and a half years of supplying job-ready candidates to British Columbia's mining sector amid growing labour shortages, the British Columbia Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BC AMTA) is being forced to close after failing to secure ongoing funding for its operations.
BC AMTA will close its doors on June 15, despite being recognized by both government and industry for successfully connecting Aboriginal people to careers in BC's exploration and mining sector. "When BC AMTA began, our goal was to place 148 people in jobs. Through hard work and a passionate commitment to our mandate, we doubled that and today, more than 310 Aboriginal men and women have found sustainable employment through their participation in BC AMTA skills training programs," said Laurie Sterritt, BC AMTA's executive director.
BC AMTA was created by industry, government, educators and First Nations to help the mining sector meet its workforce needs as a labour shortage looms across Canada. The organization provides skills upgrading and training to Aboriginal people looking for employment in the mining sector, particularly at operations close to their communities.
"Our model has combined skills training with individualized support and coaching for every candidate, reflecting the different learning needs and realities of our Aboriginal population," Sterritt said. "Industry has demonstrated its support for the BC AMTA model through commitments for 650 jobs and more than $12 million in in-kind contributions. And, while this satisfies stated federal funding requirements, we have yet to receive confirmation of government support. Unfortunately, we can't have one source of funding without the other."
BC AMTA will work with existing candidates to identify support services so they can continue on their path to employment. BC AMTA will also deliver on its commitments to industry partners who have made prior financial contributions to BC AMTA programming.
Senior management will continue to search for funding until the end of July. "My hope is we will secure new funding over the coming few weeks so we can continue to develop a legacy of increased Aboriginal training, employment and participation in our provincial and federal economies. If not, BC AMTA will have to shut its doors permanently."