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Teacher assistant training focuses on Indigenous cultural competencies

Aware Society of New Westminster gets $400,000 to offer training for up to 30 participants
Students in classroom
Up to 30 participants will have access to a skills training program that prepares people for work as teacher assistants with a focus on Indigenous cultural competencies.

A New Westminster-based employment society is getting a boost from the province to help people train as teacher assistants with an Indigenous focus.

The Aware Society will get more than $400,000 to deliver skills training and certification courses, in two intakes, for its Teacher's Assistant Certificate - Inclusion of Indigenous Cultural Competencies program.

The program, offered in partnership with Discovery Community College, will be open to up to 30 trainees to give them training and work experience for jobs in the Lower Mainland. Recruitment of participants is focused on Indigenous people, people with persistent multiple barriers to employment, and youth.

Participants will receive 19 weeks of employability and life skills training, three weeks of work experience with local employers and two weeks followup support to assist in their job search. They will also receive teacher assistant certification training, as well as Occupational First Aid Level 1, Foodsafe and violence prevention certificates.

"Aware Society's approach to providing age-appropriate Indigenous curriculum mandatory in schools, including teacher training, is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action," said C. Megan Brown, executive director of the Aware Society, in a press release. "Aware's innovative method offers an Indigenous-centric exploration of culture and cultural identity, with a focus on the First Peoples Principles of Learning."

Full-time, group-based classroom and online learning for this project starts on Monday, Aug. 16. Project activities run through to Feb. 4, 2022.

"This exciting project is a great opportunity for participants to get the skills training and experience they need to forge rewarding new careers as teacher assistants in B.C.," said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and MLA for New Westminster. "Graduates of the program will make a difference as they support their students' learning journey. I wish them well in their studies."

Funding for this project is provided through the project-based labour market training stream of WorkBC's Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP). CEP's investments are targeted toward projects that support an inclusive economic recovery. CEP supports B.C. job seekers' training and work experience, leading to employment in available jobs, and aids businesses and communities in addressing labour-market challenges. CEP invests $15 million annually in communities throughout B.C.