Indigenous people are more likely than non-Indigenous people to be in lower-paying jobs such as teaching, retail or social work, according to a 2018 OECD report. An education gap also persists: data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey shows about half of Indigenous people between 25 and 64 in Canada had a post-secondary qualification, compared with two-thirds of non-Indigenous people.
It is important for career development professionals to understand the barriers and historical context that have created these gaps. One place to start is with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports and Calls to Action. The following resources – including programs, organizations, reports and articles – may also be informative for career professionals working with Indigenous youth.
Note: There are numerous organizations and resources geared toward the career and educational success of Indigenous youth, and they are not all reflected here. If you feel there is something missing from this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – the article may be updated at a later date or a follow-up article may be published to share additional resources.
AESGT works within the federal Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, with an emphasis on essential skills building in BC and the Yukon.
Actua works to prepare youth to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and accessible STEM experiences that build critical skills and confidence. InSTEM is a customized, community-based approach to engaging First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth in locally and culturally relevant STEM education programs.
BEAHR Indigenous training and employment programs help First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada develop local environmental skills and foster green careers. These flexible courses provide introductory training to students who want to work in the environmental sector in Canada.
BDC’s internship program is designed to provide business experience through training and mentorship with the aim of finding Indigenous candidates who may qualify for permanent employment once they have completed their education.
CWY co-ordinates programs specifically created for Indigenous youth volunteers to help increase their leadership and employability skills.
The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program supports activities that assist youth in acquiring the essential skills that will help them gain employment, function well in the workplace, and learn about job and career options. Activities may include career promotion, science and technology activities, co-operative education placements, and internships and mentored work placements.
The Caring Society works to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations youth and their families through education initiatives, public policy campaigns and providing quality resources to support communities. Its Indigenous Knowledge Portal offers a multitude of resources in a searchable database, including literature reviews, reports, guides, films, booklets, studies, journal articles and presentations.
FIMESIP aims to build a knowledge-sharing platform for individuals and organizations across Canada working in literacy and essential skills (LES) for Indigenous people. The website has a section on case studies of training, skills and employment programs.
Skills Ontario’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Initiatives aim to increase the awareness of FNMI youth in the rewarding career opportunities that exist in the skilled trades and technologies.
Homeward Bound is a wrap-around program to help inadequately housed and homeless single mothers earn college diplomas, start careers and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their children. Homeward Bound, which is supported by The Counselling Foundation of Canada, opens doors, provides child care, training, education and housing, and creates a pathway to independence and family security.
Every year, this program provides a 12-month paid internship for up to 25 young Indigenous British Columbians, ages 19 to 29. It provides professional experience, leadership development, cultural support, and a professional, cultural and social network through the intern cohort.
Indspire is a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. It hosts events including the National Gathering for Indigenous Education and Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering. It also offers a mentoring program, bursaries, scholarships and awards for students.
Kocihta is working to resolve the Indigenous education and employment gap. It aims to help Indigenous youth, including youth with disabilities/special needs, reach their human resource and career potential.
The Laidlaw Foundation’s work incorporates an Indigenous Strategy, which aims to:
- Invest in young people and youth-driven groups within an intergenerational framework
- Support cross-cultural learning and understanding of how racism and colonization continues to shape Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships
- Commit long term by carrying the strategy into our next strategic plan
- Be guided by Indigenous priorities and informed by Indigenous communities
This work is informed by its Indigenous Youth Advisory Committee.
MFNERC provides education, administration, technology, language and culture services to First Nations schools in Manitoba.
The Native Youth Learning Centre (NYLC) is a computer-based learning centre, supporting the personal, educational and career development of Indigenous youth ages 15 to 30.
NPAAMB provides skills development and training opportunities for urban Indigenous youth in Southern Ontario. It offers a variety of programs including its Youth Internship Program, Summer Work Experience Program and Skills Development Training Program.
ONECA is an organization composed of First Nation Education Counsellors. It offers scholarships, student awards and resources for teachers, holds an essay contest and hosts an annual conference.
Learn about Indigenous health and wellness strategies, youth work exchange and internship programs, education strategies, housing and legal help.
The Martin Family Initiative is committed to improving elementary and secondary school education outcomes for First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit students in Canada by working in full partnership with the Indigenous people of Canada, pertinent governments and the private sector. It offers resources and programming, such as its Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program.
Guides to help students prepare for post-secondary, inspirational stories from Inuit students and more. Tukitaarvik has also undertaken a research project to collect data on Inuit students’ university experiences.
The 4Rs Youth Movement is a youth-driven initiative that was launched to change relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people. 4Rs is about engaging young people in critical cross-cultural dialogue that furthers reconciliation. It is supported by 14 founding partners including The Counselling Foundation of Canada.
Guides and resource listings
Jobs and online resources designed to connect First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students and recent grads to rewarding careers.
Information on job banks, programs, entrepreneurship, education, training, mentorship and more.
Tools and activities to help students and jobseekers explore and plan their career options.
How to present your skills and experience to the construction industry: A workbook for Aboriginal people interested in employment in construction – Construction Sector Council
This workbook aims to help people interested in their construction industry assess their level of knowledge and skills, create a plan for their future and put together a résumé.
Information for Indigenous people planning their education, including videos, training opportunities, career-planning resources and more.
A Snapshot of the Experiences of Graduate Students with Disabilities who identify as Aboriginal – NEADS
This CERIC-supported research was part of a broader examination of the experiences of students who identify as having a disability. Among the findings:
- Advice on the availability of financial support: 42% of the sample rated this item as ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’
- Opportunities to take coursework outside my department: 39% of the sample rated this item as ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’
A social research study intended to establish benchmark indicators for the state of reconciliation among the country’s youth that can also provide a foundation for monitoring progress over time. The primary focus of this research is on beliefs, attitudes, priorities, behaviors and experiences as they pertain to relevant dimensions of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations, and reconciliation in particular.
This report seeks to identify promising strategies, policies, programmes and practices that support improved learning outcomes for Indigenous students and to build an empirical evidence base on Indigenous students in education. Six Canadian provinces and territories participated in this study, along with New Zealand and Queensland (Australia).
This lifestyle magazine for Native/Indigenous people publishes four regular issues a year, plus annual “Best Practices in Economic Development,” “Education Guide for Native Students” and “Back2School” editions. The magazine may be helpful for career and education planning, with sections including: Economic, Career Development, Education and Entrepreneurship.
- 6 resources to help you understand and advance reconciliation – CareerWise (article)
- Aboriginal Issues in Career Development/Counselling – CERIC (literature search)
- Helping Indigenous Talent Tap into Their Potential – Cannexus presentation slides
- Indigenous Engagement in IT & Advanced Manufacturing Sectors – Cannexus presentation slides
- KAIROS Blanket Exercise – workshop; a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
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