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First Lil’wat security officers graduate

Groundwork laid for partnership between United Protection Services and First Nation<

A partnership between United Protection Services and Lil’wat First Nations to offer security services during the 2010 Olympics was further solidified last month with the first 10 participants graduating from a six-week training program.

The pilot training session provided the groundwork for how the partnership will proceed, explained senior administrator for the Lil’wat Nation Daniel Sailland, adding that further details of the arrangement still need to be ironed out.

“The initial drive was essentially a test pilot to see how quickly we could assemble it, how successful it was and what is the interest from the community in the area,” said Sailland.

“Right now, we are just trying to see how we can solidify a training process and at what rate we can run them (the training sessions) where there is enough interest. What we don’t want is to run empty classes.”

The training was certified by the province and included strict standards. All graduates wrote a provincial exam and went through a formal registration process.

Sailland added that the Mount Currie Band wants to make sure work is secured for those who go through the training process.

“If they are not working, then they are not getting the experience that they need, and they are not being tested properly prior to a major event like the Olympics,” he said. He added that the first batch of graduates is guaranteed work with United, and has already begun working on small projects around Mount Currie, as well as outside the area.

Approximately half of the 10 graduates were from the Mount Currie band.

The agreement with United Protection Services was signed at the end of December. Under the arrangement, United is responsible for securing contracts with private companies, and Lil’wat Nations and their lead consultant, T’musta7 Aboriginal Consulting Services, is responsible for providing the staff.

Sailland said the partnership marks an important step in leveraging opportunities for First Nations during the Olympics, and beyond construction jobs.

“We have had tremendous success in the area of construction. There are a lot of people working, and now we are expanding that to look at different areas, including security, but also areas of management and service provisions,” said Sailland.

“Essentially all those opportunities are out there, it is just whether or not we are organizing ourselves to meet them.”

United Protection Services, a private security company based in Edmonton, currently employs more than 700 people in approximately a dozen offices in Western Canada. The company has been working with First Nations for almost 15 years.