A new partnership between the health authority, Saskatchewan Métis organizations and the federal government aims to get more Métis people into the healthcare field.
With a contribution of $16.4 million dollars over five years from Employment and Social Development Canada, the Dumont Training Institute hopes to add 600 Métis clients into the province’s skilled labour force.
The program, called Nurturing Our Future Métis Public Health Services Project, was developed to fill the gaps in the healthcare system in Saskatchewan while building sustainability across Métis public health services.
“You get an education, you get into the working field, but also fill a very important piece thats missing,” said Wendy Gervais, Western Region 3 representative for Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S). “There’s a gap within that health system, and this is a real opportunity for us to take that space and fill that gap.”
The Dumont Training Institute has already added capacity to its Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN) and Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) programs for this fall.
Another goal of the project is to support students as they finish training and enter the workforce.
“It’s not just about getting a person trained and they’re on their own, it’s about supporting them on their journey,” said Audrey Hestand, director of training and employment with GDI. “Helping them make connections with employers or working with those employers as well.”
Hestand says another goal of this project is to bolster northern and remote communities with trained workers from the community, rather than bringing in skilled labour.
“A lot of the models that are out there right now kind of focus on finding people with training and importing them into a northern or remote community, and they might not be used to that lifestyle and that community,” Hestand told CTV News.
“Our model is very community-based. It’s either bring the training directly to the community, or if we can’t do that, bring people from those communities into a centralized location. Deliver the training, and support them to return to their communities in the capacity that they’ve been trained.”
At the announcement, MN-S Senator Nora Cummings spoke about her journey as a lifelong learner, despite adversity early on. She encouraged everyone to apply themselves.
“You’re never too old to learn,” she said. “You’re never too old to do what you think you have to do.”
While the LPN program intake has finished and the program will be full by March, the CCA program will begin taking applications in January.
“Anyone can apply,” said Michelle McNally, director of the Dumont Training Institute. “You’re never too old to further your education and change careers.”
The project is working with partners to add training for phlebotomy, mental health and awareness and Indigenous birth support in the future.