Local Benefits of Education, Training and Employment with Resource Industries
Chris Southcott, Lakehead University
Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta
Community Partners: Hamlet of Pond Inlet and Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership, others TBD
Students: research assistant (TBD) and graduate student (TBD)
Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador (to be confirmed)
Summary: This project will examine vocational education and training (VET) programs, designed to transition aboriginal learners into the resource extractive industrial workforce. Two components of the research to be examined include; 1) learning-to-work transitions of training participants, and 2) the brokerage of training programs involving different partners. Project stakeholders include local community organizations, community colleges, industry, and both aboriginal and non-aboriginal levels of government (local, territorial, and federal). Outcomes of this project will provide relevant, in-depth, and timely information available to communities in order to maximize benefits associated with negotiating partnerships with local resource extractive industries. Research findings can also be used to identify best practices occurring in different circumpolar regions.
Purpose and significance: Although education, training and employment comprise significant indicators of community well-being, there remains a dearth of research across the circumpolar regions examining the nature of training agreements, including levels of community involvement in decision-making, and actual outcomes in terms of developing long-term, sustainable employment opportunities for local people. Research examining vocational education and training partnership programs is of particular importance for communities brokering agreements with resource extractive industries. This is because these agreements tend to contain non-disclosure clauses which do not encourage communication within or between communities about the benefits derived from these developments.
By examining best practices relating to training programs involving resource industries, this project will address part of ReSDA’s priority research requirements for one aspect of education and training. It will specifically examine ways in which local northern people develop the capacity for sustainable employment opportunities intended to arise from mining developments. This objective will be achieved in two ways:
- By gaining evidence of actual benefits derived from training programs as measured longitudinally through a learning-to-work transition; and
- By examining the politics of partnerships involving different program stakeholders, including government, industry, training delivery agents and community members.
The learning-to work component of the research will also contribute further qualitative understanding of trainees, including women’s experiences in the trades, and the impact role models and family/community support systems have on the long-term success of training participants. This sudy will also contribute greater understanding of the impact that education and training have on mobility, and the impact workforce mobility has on the capacity of communities to develop their own labour market needs. With respect to the partnership component of the project, the research will examine who partners and why, the levels of commitment and involvement by different partners, the nature of funding regimes, and governance. In particular, there is a need to identify levels of accountability as measured by monitoring and reporting of program outcomes, as well as levels of trust and communication existing between different partner organizations.
This research will provide a pragmatic policy analysis for communities, as well as contribute to greater understanding of the overall impact of resource extractive industries on community well-being in the Arctic. Potential benefits include ensuring stable and predictable funding regimes are in place. Research findings will provide relevant, in-depth, and timely information available to communities in order to maximize benefits associated with negotiating partnerships with resource extractive industries. Research findings will also provide an accurate and reliable resource for communities to use when negotiating future projects. As several case sites will be chosen for this study, the research will help communities gain a better understanding of how training partnerships are developed in different regions, and also gain insight into why some programs are more successful than others in achieving the desired outcomes of developing long-term employment opportunities through meaningful community engagement.
This project will involve two case sites involving regions that have negotiated impact and benefit agreements, and are in the process of implementing training components of these agreements. These regions include Nunavut’s north Baffin Island and Labrador. The community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut has been contacted with regard to the proposed study. The Labrador partner and case study will be developed in the second phase of the study following community consultations.
There will be two data gathering phases involving interview. These will be timed to coincide with when students are participating in a formal learning phase of the training program and then approximately 6-8 months after the completion of the program when participants are anticipated to be working in an apprenticeship program. In addition to interviewing program participants, both phases of the research will provide an opportunity to interview program partners and stakeholders, as well as access primary documents.
Local research assistants and a graduate student will be hired to assist with various components of the research. This may include data collection, conducting interviews and transcribing materials.
Timeline:. This 2 year project will start in April, 2015 and should be completed by July, 2017.
Outputs: A series of community presentations will be made at the end of the research. This may include local radio or television sessions. Community publications will be made in collaboration with local communities and support of ReSDA. The project will also be presented at the Annual ReSDA workshop. The results will be used for academic publication requirements and be a chapter in the ReSDA research synthesis book that describes some of the best practices relating to resource developments in the North.
For more information contact:
Andrew Hodgkins, PhD
Educational Policy Studies,
University of Alberta