Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 11, 2013 - 6:30 am

Nunavut, Canada, NTI team up on Inuit jobs project

“It’s important that we collaborate and share our expertise”

SAMANTHA DAWSON
NTI vice-president Jack Anawak said the new pilot training program, which offers four-month long paid work placements, is a positive thing for Nunavummiut. (PHOTO BY SAMANTHA DAWSON)
NTI vice-president Jack Anawak said the new pilot training program, which offers four-month long paid work placements, is a positive thing for Nunavummiut. (PHOTO BY SAMANTHA DAWSON)

The federal and territorial governments have teamed up with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. on an experimental pilot project aimed at increasing the number of land claims beneficiaries in Nunavut with government jobs, in line with Article 23 of the Nunavut land claims agreement.

The federal government’s alleged failure to comply with Article 23 was a big factor leading to a $1 billion lawsuit against Ottawa that NTI filed in December 2006.

Leona Aglukkaq, the minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced the new program, called the Inuit Learning and Development Pilot Project, at a news conference Feb. 8.

The project, which will start this May in Iqaluit, offers 16-month training spots for as many as 16 Inuit beneficiaries who hold a high school diploma or the equivalent.

The purpose of the project is to provide beneficiaries with work experience in a variety of government functions and departments.

“At the end of the day we are serving the same people and it’s important that we collaborate and share our expertise to support our young students,” Aglukkaq said.

The pilot project will include four four-month assignments of paid full-time work in Iqaluit with the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and NTI in Iqaluit.

The program will involve classroom learning, coaching and mentoring, as well as structured coaching and skills training.

“It’s really the first time that the three partners have come together to look at how we can recruit more of our beneficiaries into the public service,” Aglukkaq said.

Money to carry out the work placements comes from the hosting organizations.

Host organizations will also pay participants at entry-level wage rates plus northern allowances.

“Inuit must be employed in government at a level that is representative of the population of Nunavut, which means a minimum of 85 per cent of the jobs within government must be held by Inuit,” said NTI vice-president Jack Anawak, who attended the event.

He said the training project is something to be proud of because of its culturally appropriate support systems.

“By taking this targeting approach involving training, the three partners anticipate that Inuit employment numbers will increase and stabilize,” he said.

The work placements could be positions such as clerks, finance officers, environmental technicians, or other entry-level jobs.

“The Government of Nunavut is the territory’s largest employer, and as such, we are committed to building a workforce that represents our population,” said Peter Taptuna, Nunavut’s deputy premier.

“By training within the three different organizations, our young people will develop a transferable skill set and experience the unique perspective and working environment of each partner,” he said.

“Depending on the success of this, we’re hoping it will carry on with the whole territory, not just in Iqaluit,” Taptuna said.

Participants will gain on-the-job experience in various federal government departments including:

• the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency;
• Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;
• Service Canada;
• the RCMP;
• Natural Resources Canada;
• the Department of Fisheries and Oceans;
• Environment Canada;
• Parks Canada;
• Public Prosecution Service of Canada;
• Public Works and Government Services Canada; and
• the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

“Wherever possible participants will be matched with work assignments that match their career aspirations,” Aglukkaq said.

She said the students would be exposed to different streams of work at NTI, the GN or the Government of Canada. 

“It could be doing office work right here at the CanNor office or helping with field work with Parks Canada or Environment Canada,” she said.

Each participant gets paired with a mentor in that organization to answer questions about the job.

“They will be there to support the participants as they learn and develop in the program,” Aglukkaq said, adding that the goal is to create “a more diverse workforce.”

“Depending on the success of this, we’re hoping it will carry on with the whole territory, not just in Iqaluit,” Taptuna said.

Participants who complete the pilot project successfully may be placed in an inventory for potential future government jobs.

 

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