Ring of Fire Training Fires Up Aroland Students
AROLAND – “There are lots of mining opportunities out there,” stated Louie Mendowegan, Environmental Liaison Office in Aroland First Nation. The RoFATA program is being operated by Matawa First Nations through its own training delivery organization, known as Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS).
Fifteen students from Aroland First Nation started their Mining Readiness Program under the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA).
The goal with the RoFATA training is to move from training to employment.
$5.9 million in funding has been provided for the training from Service Canada, and Minister Greg Rickford the Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire.
Three hundred and forty participates are signed up for the training, across Matawa communities. Two hundred and sixty people will continue with the training into the second and third tier training.
Noront Resources will employ 196 Matawa First Nation members.
There are other partners joining the Alliance where there will be other employment opportunities.
There will be a twenty-four week Environmental Monitoring course that will move forward and prepare participants for work in the Ring of Fire.
Environmental Issues Key Component
The importance of the needed due diligence in the new ways of mining is critical.
“Our people as stewards of the land, and will take a lead role in the environmental assessment process,” stated Peter Rasevych, the RoFATA coordinator.
Success Rates of Course Encouraging
There is a success rate of completion by participants averaging over 80% through the first four completed Mining Readiness Programs in Webequie First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation, Constance Lake First Nation, and Marten Falls First Nation. The highest is 94%. The lowest is a very encouraging 75%.
The program is designed to allow participants to gain meaningful job skills, and prepare for new careers and opportunities.
Students do not need their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) to get involved in the program, however through the ASAP program, there is the opportunity to finish their high school requirements.
KKETS is offering the Aboriginal Skills & Advancment Program (ASAP) program in Thunder Bay, and looking toward expanding into Matawa communities. In 2013, one hundred and one students completed their high school through this program.
The students in Aroland were enthused and hopeful on the program. Opportunities for jobs with Premier Gold in Geraldton, and across the region in mining have spiked interest in the training.
What are the Next Steps?
The skills training will follow the Mining Readiness program.
The training has been put together to provide all opportunities for success. The training has been designed with Assembly of First Nations and mining companies.
In Aroland, the classroom in the Johnny Therrault Memorial School. The school has become a heart of the community focusing on building opportunities for the community members. In addition to classes during the day, there are youth programs, Elders visits, and educational opportunities for community members. The school is a source of pride for community members.