Aboriginal cultural awareness will be critical for project success

WEWAPWith all the talk about job and opportunity growth in northern British Columbia, along with the anticipated lack of available skilled or trainable people willing and able to work there, the engagement of Aboriginal peoples to help meet anticipated demand has become critical.

IUOE Local 115 has known this for quite some time, and has already embarked on efforts to establish relationships and share information with several First Nation communities across B.C. Not only are these groups affected by the proposed pipelines and industrial developments we are looking forward to building (safely and with due diligence of course), but their involvement and integration into the benefits these projects bring must be considered.

Part of this is training, to bring local workers up to a safe and valuable level of expertise, of course. However, a major factor in terms of how successful training institutions and labour organizations will be when engaging First Nations will be their awareness and respect for cultural norms, traditions, and values.

To this end, IUOE Local 115 staff recently attended a valuable training workshop – Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples – to ensure we are aware and respectful of the various, and often unknown cultural values of the communities we will be involved with in the coming years.

Well respected author of a book by the same name, Bob Joseph, hosted the session and discussed the various ways how a company or organization can help create strong relations and a mutual respect for the intentions and ambitions of each other, as well as common misconceptions and the cultural faux pas to avoid. Many questions were asked which directly affect how IUOE Local 115’s Training Association and staff will engage with the northern B.C. Aboriginal communities and their leaders, and how best to ensure we build lasting relationships.

The course was very well received and our thanks go to Mr. Joseph for sharing his experiences, history and insight. This is just one of the many ways in which IUOE Local 115 is staying ahead of the many developments taking place in B.C.’s industry to ensure the fairness and prosperity of its workers, wherever they may come from.

A gallery of selected images from the sessions can be viewed by clicking on the image below.

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