Prince George BC - United Steelworkers local 1-424 applied for and received funding through the labour market agreement (LMA) between the federal and Provincial Governments in October 2011. This $3million dollar agreement provided the opportunity deliver essential skills training and industry related courses to employed forest workers and miners throughout the boundaries of the local Union. These boundaries were extended to include Clearwater to Smithers and north east to Fort St John covering over 6000 workers in USW operations in Forestry and Mining.
With the economic recession in 2008-2010 the industries were severely impacted and the resulting surveys and studies conducted demonstrated the inability of affected workers to transition to other employment, meet the challenges of new technology or advance into internal apprentice programs. All of which could undermine the recovery of the industry ‘’ Said Frank Everitt President USW Local 1-424. This has been a creative pilot program with measurable success explained Terry Tate USW 1-424 project coordinator, working in partnership with industry we were able to identify the areas of need and respond by providing the essential skills and training directly to our members entering the Northern Skills Training pilot. Have time made available by employers on their shifts for the NST team to explain and answer questions about the pilot was both important and effective part of the pilot.
Preparing and assisting employees to advance into an apprenticeship has shown significant benefits to both companies and employees. The NST pilot experienced a 90% success rate for those employees entering the pilot for assistance in preparing for pre- apprentice testing a requirement for advancement into an apprenticeship ’’ Said Mike Bryce Executive Director Council Of Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations.
Currently the NST pilot has worked out a partnership with the New Babine Mill in Burns Lake, which will provide specific essential skills training for employees to prepare for the new technology incorporated into the new mill. This is a great opportunity Said Ruben Gaytan Human Resources manager, as many of the workers returning to the new mill may not be familiar with all the new technology and systems incorporated into the new mill. We want to make the transition as least stressful as possible and build confidence in employees which will benefit everyone going forward.
The Northern Skills Training pilot continues to take in workers until the end of February 2014, when the pilot moves to rap-up operations for the end of March 2014 the NST team is presently completing the results of a survey of 1,088 workers conducted throughout the NST boundaries to be released towards the end of January.
Further Information Contact:
Frank Everitt 250-563-7771 250-960-9809 Terry Tate Program Coordinator 250-563-7712 cell 617-3999