The Industry Training Authority (ITA)’s new apprenticeship advisor Donna Anderson has roots in the Chilcotin.
“I’m Tsilhqot’in and my mother was from the Anaham band along Highway 20,” Anderson, 51, told the Tribune during a phone interview from her new office in Prince George. “I have lots of relatives in a number of the communities in that area.”
In her role as an advisor for ITA, Anderson will be visiting universities, colleges, industry leaders, apprentices, sponsors, stakeholders and community members on a regular basis. Her region extends from Prince George South into the Central Interior and out to Bella Coola.
“We are tasked with building awareness of the apprenticeship system,” Anderson explained. “I’m an on foot customer service representative.”
Anxious to meet people in person, she said she prefers to have face to face meetings to build relationships with individuals, training providers or groups.
“It will give me better knowledge of how I can best help them.”
Anderson has worked as a career development practitioner for the last 13 years with the Aboriginal Community Careers and Employment Services Society in Vancouver.
Through that work she has helped many students engaged in training within a trade.
“I’ve worked with students attending programs in metal fabrication, boil making, sheet metal working, electrical, carpentry, to name a few,” Anderson said. “And become quite familiar with the apprenticeship system through the work I’ve been doing.”
Her skills are to assist people in the process as they face challenges and difficulties moving through the system.
“With apprenticeships, the jobs aren’t always throughout the whole four years or more that it takes. I want to make sure people get supported and as I become more familiar with what resources are available in this region I hope to reach out more to agencies to ensure apprentices find employer sponsors.”
Pleased she’ll be working with Walter Sorokovsky, who started as the apprenticeship advisor for the Central Interior and Prince George North region of B.C. last year.
“Walter has over 10 years of experience working as a millwright and machinist instructor and knows the area,” Anderson said.
Sorokovsky obtained his Provincial College Instructors Diploma, and holds Red Seal certification in several trades – Millwright, Machinist, and Carpenter–along with a Certificate of Qualification in Power Engineering.
Closer to home, Anderson has two adult children who are both apprentices.
Her daughter, 21, is a first-year machinist apprentice and her son, 23, is a second year boil maker apprentice.
Anderson was a foster child growing up and was raised in the Lower Mainland.
“I did not have ties to my family or community so I’m really happy to be back in the area so I can be close to my family,” she said.