Trained to welcome

Course of­fered par­tic­i­pants lessons in tourism, hos­pi­tal­ity

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON cshan­non@cb­post.com

A six-week pro­gram aimed at get­ting more Mi’kmaq youth em­ployed in the tourism in­dus­try wrapped up Fri­day.

Of the 10 par­tic­i­pants, six have se­cured jobs this sum­mer in tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity.

They came from all five of Cape Bre­ton’s First Na­tions — Eska­soni, Mem­ber­tou, Way­cobah, Wagmatcook and Chapel Is­land.

Part of their train­ing in­cluded work­ing as her­itage in­ter­preters with Eska­soni Cul­tural Jour­neys on Goat Is­land.

The is­land of­fers tourists an au­then­tic cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence by way of a recre­ated Mi’kmaq vil­lage.

Tracy Menge, di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Eska­soni, said tourism is be­com­ing more im­por­tant to the econ­omy of First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties in Cape Bre­ton.

“We’re re­ally try­ing to fo­cus on tourism and grow that in­dus­try for our com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

“We want to see the tourists stay longer and visit more com­mu­ni­ties in the long run.”

The pro­gram was funded by the Mi’kmaw Eco­nomic Ben­e­fits Of­fice, which seeks em­ploy­ment and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lo­cal abo­rig­i­nal pop­u­la­tion.

Pro­gram par­tic­i­pants worked at Goat Is­land on days when cruise ship pas­sen­gers would visit.

Four of those in the pro­gram have se­cured work at Goat Is­land through the rest of the tourist sea­son, she said.

She be­lieves there will be in­ter­est in or­ga­niz­ing another sixweek train­ing pro­gram.

“I think there will be a need for more train­ing like this.”

Another rea­son to in­vig­o­rate in­ter­est among abo­rig­i­nal youth sur­rounds suc­ces­sion plan­ning, Menge said.

There are sev­eral her­itage in­ter­preters who are ready to re­tire, she said.

The Goat Is­land trail is a pop­u­lar ex­cur­sion for cruise ship pas­sen­gers.

Eska­soni re­cently had agree- ments signed with the Hol­land Amer­ica Line, as well as another cruise line, to have Goat Is­land mar­keted as a des­ti­na­tion to their pas­sen­gers.

“Their re­sponses have been very pos­i­tive.”

SUB­MIT­TED BY MI’KMAW ECO­NOMIC BEN­E­FITS OF­FICE

Au­drey Fran­cis, left, and Pelonik Dennis of­fered job coach­ing and train­ing sup­port to the 10 par­tic­i­pants of the six-week tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity train­ing pro­gram in Eska­soni. The pro­gram ended Fri­day and so far six of the 10 par­tic­i­pants have al­ready se­cured em­ploy­ment in the tourism in­dus­try in their home com­mu­ni­ties.

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