Models of Success – In Urban Centres – Partners for Careers, ManitobaModels of Success – In Urban Centres – Partners for Careers, Manitoba


Partners for Careers, through a partnership with the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD) in Winnipeg – the Urban AHRDA/ASET holder – and the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres, with 10 locations in rural and northern Manitoba, delivers employment services to Aboriginal job seekers throughout Manitoba. Along with making employment connections, the delivery agents are also responsible for directing clients to appropriate training or education. That partnership contract is overseen by the Executive Director, whose office has developed Partners at 510 Selkirk Avenue – an inner-city resource centre directing people to the wealth of supports – employment, training, personal, health, recreation, family supports, etc. – that are available to Manitobans. These resources are of particular interest to Aboriginal people moving to Winnipeg temporarily, for trades or other training. That office also developed and distributes the Guide to Winnipeg for Aboriginal Newcomers, which assists Aboriginal people to get connected as they move to this urban centre.

Who is Involved

Partners for Careers is a partnership of the following key stakeholders:

  • Manitoba government departments of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors (for funding)
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)
  • Urban ASET agreement holder CARHD
  • Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres and their 10 rural and northern locations

The Focus

Delivery of employment services for and by Aboriginal people is the main focus. Reaching job seekers near or in the communities where they live throughout the province and marketing those job seekers to local business and industry is key to the success of the program, which has been operating since 1998. Helping job seekers connect to skills and trades training and appropriate education or other resources to help Aboriginal people be successful on their working and learning paths is a fundamental ingredient in the work being done.

Why This Model Works

Partners for Careers is a service agency connected with other service groups in Manitoba that provide a full continuum of services both for the Aboriginal job seeker and the potential employer. It creates well-placed and strategic partnerships between government, Aboriginal organizations, employers and job seekers through resources, programming and access and referral services. The strategies help to create access points for job seekers and employers, to educate and inform both, and to create successful pathways to careers and employment. Partners for Careers also attempts to address significant challenges that continue to face Aboriginal job placements, such as movement from remote and rural communities to urban centres, recognition of previous experience and training, lack of apprentice positions, and misunderstandings around the differences between apprenticeship, pre-trades training and entry-level training.

Challenges to Work on

Relative to apprenticeship and trades training, Partners for Careers believes that there are sufficient resources available, such as charts, descriptions about apprenticeship and trades training. However, even for the experienced and educated consumer, some of the material is hard to understand, such as how the “trades continuum” of learning, training and employment happens. There is a need to keep information simple, show pathways and the ladder indicating where someone might be standing and which directions are advisable. Often programs do not remember that trades training can lead to self-employment; therefore, business support and training are important.

Many Aboriginal people (particularly those over 25 years old) have had some kind of construction or labour experience. However, the experience has likely been on-site and without any formal training. This kind of on-the-job experience is not often assessed or acknowledged when individuals attempt to restart or renavigate their careers. This situation can be frustrating for the Aboriginal job seeker and needs to be addressed by post-secondary institutions, pre-assessment testing and pre-employment, and/or apprenticeship training.