Sudbury

Canadore College pilots Indigenous youth internship program

Canadore College in North Bay, Ont., has a new three week internship program for Indigenous youth. It's a collaboration with the Nipissing First Nation economic development office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Three week program provides in-class teaching from Elders, on-the job training at employer

Canadore College in North Bay, Ont. (www.canadorec.on.ca)

Canadore College in North Bay, Ont., has introduced a new three week internship program for Indigenous youth.

The post secondary school is collaborating with the Nipissing First Nation economic development office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The pilot program has 25 Indigenous students, between the ages of 15 and 30 says Canadore's manager of Indigenous and business relations Patricia Chabbert.

She says the program focuses on land guardianship and stewardship and was created out of a response to the demand the school has been hearing from Indigenous communities needing trained professionals in environmental sustainability.

Chabbert says there is also a strong interest from Indigenous youth. 

"Really supporting young people to apply [for] what they're passionate about, for example water. There's a lot of water walks happening," Chabbert says.

"There's a lot of work that young people are doing in their communities focused on the environment and protecting the environment."

The internship program draws on knowledge from elders from the First Nation community.

Angel Armstrong — who is from Nipissing First Nation — is one of three coordinators with the program, who connected with elders from local First Nation communities.

The elders and knowledge keepers will lead a series of workshops over the course of the three weeks.

"We contacted a lot of people in the community from Nipissing First Nation and Dokis First Nation to come and support our youth and teach us some of the things that they know that were passed down to them," Armstrong says.

She adds that it was challenging to get a hold of some of them. "Although everyone was more than willing to come work with our youth and provide that support for them."

The internship program is a combination of in-class learning and work experience.

Chabbert says Canadore hopes to run subsequent cohorts throughout the year.

Indigenous Leadership and Land Internship is able to operate due to a $76,000 grant from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

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