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Canadore College introduces Indigenous leadership and land internship

Three-week program to improve students’ vocational skills
Canadore College in North Bay

Canadore College has launched an internship program for Indigenous youth in collaboration with the Nipissing First Nation economic development office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The program is intended for Indigenous secondary and postsecondary students aged 15-30, who would like to learn more about how leadership can positively influence land guardianship and stewardship.

“Indigenous communities continue to identify enormous gaps in filling employment needs related to environmental sustainability,” said Patricia Chabbert, business and Indigenous relations manager at Canadore College, in a news release.

“This program will bring together knowledge keepers and community leaders to help youth prepare to take on these roles within their own communities. It also celebrates Indigenous knowledges of the land and encourages participants to see these knowledges as strengths and assets in their career pathways.”

A diverse group of traditional knowledge keepers and community presenters will lead a series of workshops to help students improve on a variety of vocational skills across three broad themes: Indigenous worldviews and teachings regarding the environment; career exploration and land-based learning; and leadership and land-based programs. They will also gain practical work experience in and training in wilderness CPR and WHIMIS training.

“I'm interested in the program because I strongly believe that all nations, communities and cultures across the globe have a strong connection, need and want to live off of, and be a part of, the land they live on,” said 22-year-old Rolan Bergeon, participant from  Nipissing First Nation.

“Therefore, this internship will give me the opportunity to learn more about the land I live on, while allowing me to further improve upon my leadership skills.” 

Canadore College received a $76,000 grant from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). The program began Aug. 14 and will run until Sept. 1. Chabbert is hopeful to run subsequent cohorts with other sectors throughout the year.

Canadore trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 75 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and student services. The college and its students add nearly $290 million to the regions of Nipissing and Parry Sound. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 44,000 alumni working across the globe.

Nearly 20 per cent of Canadore’s total student population is of Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Cree Algonquin, Mohawk, Inuit or Métis descent from Ontario, Québec and nationwide, one of the highest representations in the provincial college system.