LNG Canada has announced it will be contributing $80,000 to driver training sessions in Terrace and Kitimat as part of the company’s commitment to providing local employment opportunities.
The funding will allow for 46 students to take the graduated licensing program for free, to go from a learner’s L licence to a Class 7 N licence. It will also include training for safe and defensive driving.
Training is open to anyone with a valid learner’s license living in Kitimat or Terrace. Instead of holding an N license for 24 months, the process is shortened to 18 months.
Most resource-sector jobs, including work with LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink, require employees to have a driver’s licence. Not having a licence can be a barrier to employment for Indigenous people, who often don’t have access to proper training in remote communities. There’s also the issue of getting to and from the job site over long distances.
Director of external relations for LNG Canada Susannah Pierce says in a press release that the sponsorship aims to remove barriers so individuals can take advantage of employment opportunities as the project moves into construction.
“We are committed to ensuring the local community and First Nations benefit from our project and are pleased to offer a program that provides much-needed driver’s training to help overcome that obstacle, and at the same time, increase road safety,” says Pierce.
All Nations Driving Academy in Terrace has been tackling that issue since the company started operating last year, training drivers and supporting Indigenous communities to consider owning and operating their own driving schools. The company will be running the training sessions in Terrace starting Feb. 25.
“Studies show that between 5 and 45 per cent of Indigenous people living on reserves do not have a driver’s licence,” says Lucy Sager, CEO of All Nations Driving Academy in a press release.
“I’m really appreciative of the partnership with LNG Canada and for them taking the initiative to understand there is a problem and to step up to help fill the gap. Long after LNG Canada is built, the benefit of being able to drive will be a life skill that will take community members anywhere they want to go.”
Training in Kitimat will be offered by the Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) in partnership with Haisla Driving School. The first session ran on Feb. 15, with a second session planned for March 20 to March 22.
“We are pleased to partner with LNG Canada and Haisla Driving School to host this valuable training for the community. Drivers licences are key to employment,” says Tanya Rexin, President and CEO of Kitimat Valley Institute.
The training in Terrace will run in the evenings of Feb. 25 to March 1. Students can then sign-up for the in-car portion of the training at any time in 2019.