Canadian Biomass Magazine

Saskatchewan invests $500k to grow Indigenous workforce in forestry

June 14, 2024
By Canadian Forest Industries staff report

New partnership with Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies will deliver forestry sector training programs

Aligned with Saskatchewan’s growth plan to boost Indigenous participation in the natural resource industry, the provincial government is investing in the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) to deliver two critical training initiatives aimed at addressing workforce needs and expanding the Indigenous workforce in the forestry sector.

Minister of Immigration and Career Training Jeremy Harrison highlighted the importance of this initiative, stating, “This investment will help fill the thousands of jobs our forestry sector is creating in northern Saskatchewan. Partnerships like this are essential to our labour market strategy, ensuring Saskatchewan people have access to the skills and training needed to fill the jobs our economy is creating.”

SIIT, known for its programs tailored to the labour market needs of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities, will launch the Forestry Log Haul Step Program, supporting up to 20 individuals in gaining the necessary 980 hours of experience to become fully licensed log haul drivers. The institute will also help new drivers secure employment and build connections with forestry sector employers.

Lisa Shingoose, SIIT Vice-President of Employment Development and Career Services, emphasized the program’s impact: “SIIT is committed to supporting First Nations’ growth in the natural resource sector. No group has more experience with responsible land stewardship or a greater interest in sustainability. We are very thankful for this investment and the training it will support.”

Additionally, the funding will enable SIIT to purchase two Simlog Simulators for its mobile job connection program. These simulators will provide virtual work-site training and teach safety-conscious operating habits for heavy equipment, benefiting job seekers in First Nation and northern communities.

Robert Follett, General Manager of Mistik Management Ltd, praised the initiative, stating, “This investment will help bridge existing skill gaps and cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workforce. We’re excited about the positive impact it will have on our province, especially in our community.”

This investment supports Saskatchewan’s recently released labour market strategy, “Building the Workforce for a Growing Economy,” which aims to ensure the province has the necessary labour force to meet employer demand and that Saskatchewan residents benefit first from the province’s economic growth.

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