Mr. Speaker, a skilled workforce is a prerequisite for growing a strong, diversified economy in this territory and our government is doing its part by supporting training and certification programs. This year marks the 50th anniversary of apprenticeship training and certification in the Northwest Territories. Since 1964 more than 2600 apprentices have been trained and certified as journeypersons in the NWT.
This marks 50 years of success in the NWT and we will be celebrating in every region as part of Skilled Trades and Technology Week from November 3rd to 7th. We will be hosting awards presentations to recognize excellence achieved by apprentices and recognize employers and journeypersons for their contributions to the success of the apprenticeship program.
There is a bright future for skilled tradespeople in the NWT and partners like employers and journeypersons are helping us prepare NWT residents to take advantage of that. In fact, Mr. Speaker, partnerships are key in all the work we do in labour force development. Partnerships with Aboriginal governments, industry, Skills Canada NWT, Aurora College and the Mine Training Society contribute to that strength.
Partnerships with the Government of Canada are also critical and have led to labour market agreements aimed at developing a skilled workforce and providing all Northerners with training and employment opportunities.
This year I have signed three labour market agreements with the federal government: the new Canada-Northwest Territories Job Fund Agreement; renewal of the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Agreement; and the new Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities.
These three agreements will provide comprehensive training, education and opportunities for our employers, our older workers, our adult workers, and critical under-represented groups in our labour market such as Aboriginal people, youth, women, income assistance recipients, entrants/re-entrants into the labour force, and immigrants.
The economy of the Northwest Territories is growing, and our programs must support that growth. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is taking a systematic look at adult and postsecondary education and skills training in the NWT. We want to improve employment success for NWT residents, close the skill gaps for in-demand jobs, and more effectively respond to the requirements of NWT employers and industry.
As well, Mr. Speaker, as we improve the collection and sharing of information from students, we are able to review the skill sets of Northern students studying at post-secondary institutions and match them with meaningful and rewarding jobs with our government.
Mr. Speaker, these investments and initiatives will complement our work with our partners to build on existing programs and services to ensure that NWT residents have the skills, knowledge and opportunities to participate fully in the vibrant, sustainable Northern economy the Government of the Northwest Territories is working to create.
Masi, Mr. Speaker.