News Release Article from  Western Economic Diversification Canada

Archived - Harper Government Announces Investment to Support Aboriginal Participation in Energy Infrastructure Projects

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August 5, 2014 – Fort St. John, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced over $1.4 million in funding to the North East Native Advancing Society (NENAS) in support of the purchase of a heavy equipment operator/mining simulator, a driving simulator, as well as the delivery of a training program.

Rapid growth in the energy and mining sectors has created a high demand for heavy equipment operators in North East British Columbia. NENAS is the first institution to offer heavy equipment operator training in the region. The acquisition of this vital training equipment will allow NENAS to train up to 225 drivers and heavy equipment operators by April 2015.

In addition to simulator training, NENAS will provide students with essential workplace skill building, foundational and safety training, pre-college preparation, and apprenticeship mentoring. Industry stakeholders have already committed to hiring students upon graduation.

Quick Facts

  • Between 2014 and 2020, occupations related to motor vehicle, transit drivers and heavy equipment operators are expected to have the highest number of job openings in Northeast British Columbia.
  • Aboriginal workers represent an important labour force to meet the demands of this growing industry.
  • The heavy equipment operator/mining simulator and driving simulator are portable, allowing training to be delivered in surrounding communities in Northeast British Columbia.


"This project aids the rapidly growing energy and mining industries, while creating skilled jobs for northern residents, including Aboriginal people. The economic opportunities that these training simulators provide will be felt across Northeast British Columbia."

- The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

"NENAS greatly appreciates the funds provided through Western Economic Diversification for the acquisition of simulators and trailers, which opens doors for Aboriginal people residing in Northeast British Columbia to compete for job opportunities connected to major industry projects. We have learned that Aboriginal people learn best by hands on apprenticeship methods, and the simulators lend support to this style of teaching."

- Audrey Sam, Executive Director, North East Native Advancing Society

Additional Links


Emily Goucher
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification
Telephone: 613-668-2903

Jaime Burke
Manager of Communications
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 604-666-1318

Audrey Sam
Executive Director
North East Native Advancing Society
Telephone: 250-785-0887

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