Qalipu looking to match members with work opportunities

Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band says the energy projects happening in the province present tremendous opportunities for its members.

Qalipu logo

To ensure members can capitalize on those opportunities the band is encouraging them to update their information on Ginu — the band’s interactive labour force database.

Keith Goulding is director of Work Force Qalipu. He said Ginu, which is the Mi’kmaq word for “us,” will be the main source of information for the band as it pursues job and training opportunities for members.

The band will use the information provided by members to match them with opportunities in various employment sectors, including the current opportunities in the energy sector.

The band currently has over 23,000 members and Goulding said 14,000 of them have been contacted to encourage them to update their information on Ginu. So far, he said, 1,400 have expressed interest in working on the Emira project and at Bull Arm. The 1,400 who have done so represent 10 per cent of the 14,000, which is on par with the band’s expectations.

“If the national average is under 10 per cent unemployed, to have about 10 per cent of our eligible workforce out looking for work is on par with the national averages,” said Goulding. “It shows us that we’re on track with what we’re trying to achieve here.”

Goulding said the band is working with the province and the proponents of the various projects to take advantage of the benefits agreements that are in place. Agreements that aim to create a more equal representation of under-represented groups — such as the aboriginals, woman and disabled — in the workforce.

He said Qalipu also wants to be at the table on discussions involving with the Maritime Link Project to make sure the benefits agreement is well articulated and so it can help promote members so they can gain access to the labour force.

Goulding said the band will work with stakeholders to determine where the labour gaps are and where the labour needs are going to be felt most acutely.

“Then we’ll look at opportunities to pursue training for our members to fill those gaps.”

Right now Goulding said that could involve a lot of trades work, everything from surveying to fabrication and powerline technicians.

He also sees the potential to take advantage of the training and learning experience found in the province’s migratory workforce to bring members who are a part of that back here to work.

Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

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