Aboriginal Training for Employment Program - ATEP

What is it?

The Aboriginal Training for Employment Program (ATEP) a pilot program which funded through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development began in late May 2010.  The design of the ATEP program is to empower and assist qualified participants to overcome any barriers to employment they have encountered in the past.  The target areas the program is focused on are life skills, enhancing skills, completing their high school diploma, providing access to courses such as Food Safe, First aid, and World Host, and providing opportunities for work placements which could lead to sustainable employment.

Who is Eligible?

  • You must identify as an Aboriginal, non-status, Metis or Inuit person.
  • You must not be receiving employment insurance benefits and or have received EI in the past 3 or 5 years. For example, unemployed individuals who are eligible to participate in LMDA (EI) benefit programs are not eligible to participate in LMA (ATEP) programs.  There are already a number of programs that EI eligible clients are able to participate in.  The ATEP was designed for those clients who are not eligible for EI and therefore not able to access the supports and programs that EI programs provide.
  • You may qualify if you are currently working and have been on EI benefits.  For example, employment trumps EI client status.  That is, if a person is employed and is under-skilled, EI doesn’t factor into eligibility determination.  A person would be eligible to participate in the program if they are employed, under-skilled (no high school, high school but no certification, high school but lacking essential skills) regardless of whether or not they ever received EI. 
  • Please note that employed participants who have a credential or any post secondary education towards a university degree are not considered under-skilled and are, therefore, not an eligible participant under the LMA. An unemployed individual who has some or any post-secondary is eligible to participate as long as they are a non-EI client.

Support Services

The ATEP program also offers participants ongoing individual support from a qualified job coach and other program partners such as North Island College and INEO Employment Services.  As partners, we personally work with each participant to assist in addressing barriers and identifying successes to attain full-time sustainable employment.


The first three months of the ATEP program will work intensively on pre-employment training in the form of workshops geared to enhance the participant's overall communication, organization, and educational skill sets.  Additionally, each participant will receive training through North Island College in one of three specific employment streams: Retail, Janitorial and Clerical/Office Support.  A second area addresses on-the-job training in the form of monitored part-time work placements.  The intent is that participants will continue to complete their specific employment stream training and any upgrading they require at North Island College and or INEO while also getting on-the-job work experience in a field of interest to them.  Counselling and coaching will continue to take place over this next six-month placement period with the goal of sustainable employment throughout this time and moving forward. 


The ATEP program is intended to challenge participants to really push themselves and grow in as many areas as they are able to identify within the time restraints of the program. Their hard work will ultimately payoff by giving each of them the greatest opportunity to successfully move forward.  Upon completing the ATEP program, the participants will have acquired the skills necessary to navigate the work world with greater confidence and strong potential for sustained, long-term employment within the community of Port Alberni.  For some, this may look like continued full-time employment, while for others part-time employment as they also work towards fulfilling on their individual dreams by continuing onto post-secondary education.

Funding provided by

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development – ATEP

Research Universities, Health and Aboriginal Programs Branch | Aboriginal Education Unit



INEO Employment Services