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Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies: Provides A Wide Range Of Technical Training

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SEPTEMBER 1989      p11  
The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies is an Indian controlled skills training Institution.

The SIIT is operated by a board of directors consisting of the District Representatives of the FSIN. Under their leadership the Institution has grown to operate a number of Satellite programs at the reserve and District level.

The major source of funding is Employment and Immigration Canada. The link between SIIT and FSIN was altered during fiscal 1987-88. Instead of EIC directly purchasing training from SIIT according to their priorities, EIC now funds a third party 'Co-ordinating Group' which has the responsibility to purchase training on behalf of Status Indians in Saskatchewan. This group is known as the Saskatchewan Indian Training Assessment Group, Inc. or SITAG, for short.

Subsequently, SIIT has entered into an administrative and training purchase agreement with SITAG. Under this agreement administrative services are provided to the Group and the Group purchases designated training from SIIT, on behalf of Status Indians in Saskatchewan.

SIIT also receives funding from the Department of Indian Affairs. In 1988 a five year agreement was signed with the department for regular tuition and special program funding.

A recent Centre, which has its origins in a special project known as the District Chiefs Data Centre project, has a mandate to provide computer related training and services. Activities are directed both internally to SIIT needs and requirements as well as to external clients involved in the delivery of services to the Indian people of Saskatchewan. The Productivity Centre functions on a cost-recovery basis.

The delivery of training to Indian people by SIIT is undertaken under two general classifications Satellite Programs and Special Programs. Student registrations in the various types of training encompassed by these programs totaled 600 during the 1988-89 fiscal year.

Accreditation for several of the satellite programs is facilitated by brokering the courses through the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. The Palliser Campus delivers the Business Administration program at Prince Albert. The Kelsey campus is involved in the Recreational Technology program at Fort Qu'Appelle, the Diploma Nursing Program at North Battleford, the Plumbing Heating & Gasfitting program at Muskeg Lake, and the Industrial Mechanics program at Sandy Lake.

SIIT is also involved in the on going assessment of Adult Basic Education needs of Indian people. No ABE courses were delivered during the last fiscal year and only one was delivered the previous year under a band initiative at Island Lake. Initiatives are underway to address this problem. The existence of a strong active ABE system is necessary for development in general and for ensuring there are qualified applicants to our satellite programs.

The satellite programs provide a comprehensive set of training opportunities for Indian people in the technical and vocational area. The programs were largely established through the Skills Growth Fund of the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission several years ago. Each program is administered between SIIT and the respective District/Agency Chiefs Office or Tribal Council.

The Business Administration program completed its fifth year of operation by honouring 18 graduates from the two year administration course on June 2, 1989. The number of graduates has increased every year as 6 graduated in 1985, 8 in 1986, 11 in 1987, and 6 in 1988. There were 43 students registered in Year 1 and 29 students in Year 2 during the year. The number of graduates is expected to increase again next year. The Business Administration program is accredited through the Palliser Campus of SIAST.

The Business College at Prince Albert operates on a seat purchase basis from EIC as well as accepting fee payers and students sponsored by Indian Affairs.

Students at the College are tested by the Association of Canadian Career College final examinations which are marked by professionals at ACC. The diploma courses offered include Secretarial, Clerical Accounting, Accounting Clerk, Stenographer, Office Clerk, and Clerk Typist. Classes start on the first Tuesday of every month throughout the year.

The National Indian Forestry Institute located at Meadow Lake had their second graduating class receive diplomas on May 19, 1989. The forestry management course is an intensive three year program. There were a total of 45 students enrolled in the program during the year - 20 in Year 1, 13 in Year 2 and 12 in Year 3.

The Indian Diploma Nursing Program in North Battleford is the newest satellite program. Nine students completed the two year course and were the first graduates in June of 1989. At that time they will be eligible to write the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination. As of the end of the program year there were 20 students nearing completion of the preparatory phase of the nursing program.

The sixth intake of students into the Industrial Mechanics program had six students complete the one year course.

The Plumbing, Heating and Gasfitting program had 10 students complete the 32 week pre-apprenticeship training program.

The Recreational Technology program had their final graduation with nine students receiving diplomas from the Kelsey Camps, of SIAST. Technical programs are evaluated on an on-going basis to ensure the most appropriate training is undertaken. As a result, an Indian Business Management program is taking the place of the Recreation Technology program Fort Qu'Appelle. Both the Industrial Mechanics and Plumbing, Heating and Gasfitting programs are planned to be would down after the current class graduates. New programs will be put in place as result of a joint assessment by SIIT and the respective districts.

The Satellite programs will continue to be an integral part of the education system in their respective districts. The directors of the programs meet with SIIT staff on regular basis to discuss problem areas and share ideas. The operation of the programs have tended to become more self sufficient over the years.

Some key areas of joint cooperation are the recruitment and selection of qualified students and support services to help graduating students find suitable employment.

There is no doubt that the satellite system offers a range technical training opportunities to Indian people from Bands throughout the province.