The territorial government says it is creating two new programs to help Indigenous northerners get training and work experience.

In a news release on Tuesday, the territory said one program would create entry-level positions within its own government (GNWT). The other helps existing Indigenous GNWT staff to get promotions toward management roles.

Should they be successful, the programs will have the obvious impact of increasing the both the number and average pay grade of Indigenous territorial government staff.

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“These new initiatives … will help achieve our commitment to a having a public service that is representative of the peoples it serves,” Finance Minister Robert C McLeod said in remarks quoted in Tuesday’s news release.

The new programs – referred to as the Indigenous Career Gateway Program for entry-level staff, and the Indigenous Management Development and Training Program for existing staff – apply to people considered Indigenous Aboriginal under the GNWT’s affirmative action policy.

Indigenous Aboriginal is defined by the GNWT as “those persons who are descendants of the Dene, Inuit or Métis people, indigenous to the present boundaries of the Northwest Territories and … any aboriginal persons resident at birth pursuant to Section 23 of the Vital Statistics Act and any Canadian aboriginal persons who have lived more than half of their life in the Northwest Territories.”

The latest territorial government figures suggest 31 percent of the territorial government’s staff met that definition in March 2017.

At the time, Indigenous Aboriginal people filled one in every five senior management roles within the GNWT.

If you’re an Indigenous Aboriginal person looking for an entry-level GNWT position, use this job application page to apply. The territory says applicants “will be entered into a database of candidates to be referred to departments as employment opportunities become available.”

The jobs on offer will be one-year casual contracts or two-year traineeships.

The management development program gives departments more money to spend on training. Staff are asked to work with their managers “to identify education and training opportunities that could be supported through this new initiative.”

It’s not clear what impact, if any, the creation of these new programs – in particular a program designed to create entry-level positions – will have on the ongoing collective bargaining process.

The GNWT and Union of Northern Workers are set to meet under the auspices of an independent mediator later this month.