Mr. Speaker, jobs for Northerners are a priority of all Members of this Assembly. For the Government of the Northwest Territories, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan and the Workforce Planning Strategy provide multi-pronged approaches to build capacity through recruitment, development and retention. I would like to provide Members an update on some of these initiatives being led by the Department of Human Resources.
Partnering with Aboriginal and community governments through secondment opportunities to build capacity is a win-win. Secondments provide employees with the opportunity to become familiar with other government structures and processes. They also allow employees to gain new knowledge and skills and help form valuable contacts and relationships. As of January 2014, five GNWT employees are on secondment to Aboriginal and community governments and one is on secondment to an Aboriginal association.
We are also very encouraged by the recent initiative with the Gwich'in Tribal Council to work together on designing a pilot program for internships and secondments to build capacity in Gwich'in communities. The Department of Human Resources and the Gwich'in Tribal Council are currently working on a terms of reference and will start work on program details in 2014-2015. Other Aboriginal governments may want to consider similar models. During 2013-14 the GNWT hired 22 northern graduates as interns through the Graduate Internship Program. We currently have 12 apprentices.
Mr. Speaker, the GNWT, like many other employers, is facing both current and future occupational shortages and it is recognized that our northern students and graduates can meet some of the demand. I am pleased to announce that existing student and youth programs have changed to more strongly correlate the opportunities in the public service with the studies and aspirations of young Northerners.
Changes to the Internship Program include options for departments to extend the term of the internship to longer than one year in length and link the internship to occupational shortages in the GNWT. To expand the pool of northern graduates available, the eligibility requirement to graduate from post-secondary studies within the last six months has been changed to 12 months. The program guidelines have also been updated to help ensure managers and interns understand the purpose of the program and their roles and responsibilities.
We know many northern students want to work for the GNWT, and changing our internship requirements offers new graduates better and longer opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and experience to more easily transition into the GNWT. By linking internship placements with GNWT occupational shortages, we are gaining the valuable technical and specialized skills the GNWT requires. The changes are effective April 1, 2014, and information will be available on the Department of Human Resources' website in the coming weeks.
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to building capacity through partnerships with Aboriginal and community governments and initiatives to transition northern graduates into the public service. This approach helps us meet the challenges from current and future occupational shortages. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.