Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the current oil and gas activity in Fort Liard provides excellent opportunities for Northerners to be trained and employed. I would like to highlight some of the work that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is doing to make sure the employment benefits for Northerners are maximized.
On a recent trip to Fort Liard, senior management of the department had confirmation that Beaver Enterprises, which is part of the local Development Corporation, has over 200 employees working on projects primarily related to oil and gas development. Their challenge is to continue finding enough workers to meet the demand of industry.
The department has extended an offer to the Development Corporation to help them with this problem. The department is prepared to support an employment officer located in Fort Liard and officials are working with the Development Corporation to finalize details of the arrangement. This officer would help connect interested individuals in the region with the Development Corporation and the available jobs.
Mr. Speaker, the department is also actively involved through the Careers Centre in Fort Simpson. The centre is providing career development services to familiarize regional residents with the variety of work opportunities in Fort Liard. This work includes career guidance and support services.
In addition, departmental staff are working closely with industry representatives and communities to ensure that the needs of industry are clear and an appropriate training plan is in place.
Oil and gas development provides exciting opportunities for Northerners in a variety of jobs. If we are to ensure that Northerners get these jobs, they must have suitable training. People also have to understand and accept the challenges and opportunities of working in the industry including the realities of working in camps and on rotation.
It is important to have close cooperation between communities, industry and Aurora College to plan training to meet the requirements of the industry, in the exploration, development and operational phases. Senior officials at the college have been briefed on the situation and the college will be working with the department and industry to meet the training needs for oil and gas jobs in the Liard area.
The school can also be involved in the efforts in Fort Liard. The current activities in the area means there are plenty of jobs for young people. The school will be working with the employers to find ways to let students work part-time while continuing to complete their high school education. The Education Act provides the flexibility for schools to make arrangements which meet the needs of the senior students in Fort Liard and keep them in school. Through school programs such as the Schools North Apprentice Program and the Career and Technology Studies Program, we are linking school and jobs for these students.
Mr. Speaker, the efforts of the department support the full range of exploration, development and operational jobs in the oil and gas sector. If predictions prove to be true and other development continues to occur in the Liard Valley, there will be more opportunities for people to use the skills they are acquiring now for some time to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.