Qikiqtani association secures $25M for jobs, training
QIA has run its Q-STEP program in partnership with federal and territorial governments, Kakivak and Baffinland since 2017
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association has secured an additional $25 million to extend its Q-STEP program over four years.
Board members voted to accept the money offered by the federal government for Q-STEP, which stands for Qikiqtani Skills and Training for Employment Partnership, at their general membership meeting in Iqaluit on Friday.
The training and education provided through this funding will begin in February.
Q-STEP was launched by QIA in partnership with the federal and territorial governments, Kakivak Association and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. in 2017.
Its goal has been to provide Inuit across Qikiqtani communities Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Sanirajak and Igloolik with work readiness, heavy equipment and trades apprenticeship training, and general skills development.
The federal government provided $7.9 million toward training 360 unemployed Inuit through the program when it was launched, while Baffinland offered $9.4 million in in-kind support and Kakivak provided $1.6 million in in-kind support.
Kris Mullaly, project manager for QIA, said the federal government is now providing an additional $25 million to continue the program through 2027.
This new funding will be used to expand it across all 13 Qikiqtani communities.
“We’ve heard many times the board of directors wish that benefits are going to more communities,” Mullaly said at the meeting. “We’re in a position to be able to do that.”
While Q-STEP will operate in more communities, the training provided through the program will remain similar.
“With this new funding, we’re going to stick to what we know with work readiness, heavy equipment operator, driver training, pre-trades apprenticeships.”
It will, however, focus on mobilizing the “underemployed” — providing Inuit with training and career development that makes full use of their skills.
Mullaly said the association hopes to expand the kind and reach of the training programs Q-STEP provides by encouraging use of its Tuttarvik website and mobile app, an online jobs portal that connects employers and Inuit seeking employment or training.
Tuttarvik will be “the main vehicle in driving how we can link training to employment initiatives” over the next four years, he said.