How to pay for Nunavut training in the post-NUHRDS future

The Nunavut Secretariat’s senior advisor on human resources says a new 20-year training plan will help develop the Nunavut labour force.

By JANE GEORGE

IQALUIT — The big bonanza of federal training money that Nunavut residents use to receive through the Nunavut Unified Human Resources Strategy has dried up, but this won’t necessarily mean the end of training progams for Nunavut residents.

In fact, finding more cash should be relatively easy, says Marcel Fortier, who directed the training strategy for DIAND’s Nunavut Secretariat.

All it will take is a little organization, Fortier says.

The purpose of the $39.9 million NUHRDS program was to prepare Nunavut residents, especially Inuit, for jobs in the Nunavut government.

Fortier said the focus of a new 20-year strategic plan that’s now in the works is the development of the Nunavut labour force, instead of training civil servants

But he said the trick involved in paying for future training programs will be to gain access to money that’s hidden away in various federal and territorial departments.

And while the $40 million earmarked for NUHRDS from 1996 to 2000 is gone, Fortier said that said that it still shouldn’t be too hard to find money for good programs.

He applauded the recent move by the Ottawa-based training program, Nunavut Sivuniksavut, to establish its own board of directors.

“The program is beginning to take charge of itself,” said Fortier, who also agreed to sit on the new board.

The Tungavik Federation of Nunavut started Nunavut Sivuniksavut back in 1985 to help young Inuit understand the land claims process and prepare for life at southern universities and colleges.

Fourteen years and 140 graduates later, it has developed into a program with a much wider focus and helps its participants prepare for a higher education.

But Nunavut Sivuniksavut has been forced to scramble around for funding.

“While it has been supported by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the regional economic groups and the federal government on a year to year basis, no organization has been willing to manage the program and ensure its long-term viability,” said Raurri Qajaaq Ellsworth, the new board’s acting director.

Through its new board, Nunavut Sivuniksavut plans to change the program’s “orphan” status.

“We are saying we really exist and we are not looking for you to be our parent, but our partner,” Ellsworth said.

Among its priorities will be finding money to replace the $100,000 annual grant that it received from NURHDS.

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