In 2001, a dynamic new initiative was born. National in scope, BEAHR (Building Environmental Aboriginal Human Resources) took on the important task of increasing Aboriginal employment in the environment sector. Through career awareness programs, training and employment resources, and recognition of environmental excellence, BEAHR has made excellent progress toward this goal.
Over its first few months, for example, BEAHR and its National Steering Committee developed the “BEAHR Circle to Success.” This framework became the foundation for a holistic view of BEAHR’s future direction and national strategy.
In order to expand on this view, 2002 saw nine round table discussions held in Vancouver, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Iqualuit, Toronto, Montreal, and Moncton. With the help of over 140 Aboriginal individuals and organizations, BEAHR made further progress in developing its strategy and goals.
After a busy and fruitful 2003, these goals—and the strategy behind them—have produced a number of programs and services. The BEAHR Internship Program has already seen great success and the BEAHR Speaker Program is generating interest across the country. As the BEAHR Employer’s Guide and the National Occupational Standards for Environmental Monitors near completion, BEAHR is proving its value to the environment industry. Lastly, as new programs are set in motion (such as the BEAHR Learning Institute) and as old programs are repeated (such as the Aboriginal EnviroCareers Calendar Contest), BEAHR continues to head for the future.
As such, BEAHR looks forward to a) increasing Aboriginal participation in the environment sector by 6,000 new positions and b) continuing toward the following goals:
- Create an awareness of environmental careers among Aboriginal communities
- Support Aboriginal peoples’ development in the environmental sector
- Become the premier source for environmental employment resources
- Recognize and support environmental excellence in the Aboriginal community, education, and industry
Inachieving these goals, BEAHR will remain reliant on the input andsupport of Aboriginal people, the environment industry, educators,governments, and others. BEAHR will especially rely on the partnersresponsible for its creation—ECO Canada (formerly CCHREI) and the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada.
These national sector councils are funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program. ECO Canada strives to ensure an adequate supply of people with the demonstrated skills and knowledge required to meet the environmental human resource needs of the public and private sectors. AHRDCC moves to see full participation of Aboriginal people in Canadian labour markets and helps pioneer new ways to increase skills and training opportunities for Aboriginal people. With their respective purposes, ECO Canada and AHRDCC became the perfect partners to create BEAHR, which has given birth to the first initiative between two sector councils.