NC partners on program to give Indigenous youth critical job skills and experience

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Indigenous youth across Southern Ontario will be given the tools they need to launch a successful career in Canada’s health care, hospitality, and tourism sectors, thanks to a new federally funded program recently announced by the Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB).

Niagara College is a key partner in the Journey to Success program, which will provide a training course equipping Indigenous youth with both soft employability skills, as well as the on-the-job training they need to prepare for, get and keep jobs. The course will prepare youth for careers in a wide range of industries, with a focus on health care, hospitality and tourism. Each student who completes the course will receive a Statement of Completion from Niagara College.

The announcement is the culmination of nearly two years of collaboration and discussion between NPAMMB and NC’s Workforce Development and Access department about how to better equip Southern Ontario’s Indigenous youth with the skills they needed to start their career.

We wanted to find ways to engage youth in experiential learning activities that help them explore career pathways and education options,” said Fiona Allan, Dean of Academic and Liberal Studies. “It took several revisions, but we finally got to where we are today with the Journey to Success project. Working with the NPAAMB staff has been a wonderful experience and we have built partnerships beyond this project.”

Two 13-week programs will launch in the Spring of 2018 that will include classroom sessions held on NC’s campuses. Courses will draw on the expertise in NC’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, and the School of Allied Health.  NC and NPAAMB will co-develop the curriculum. NPAAMB will bring a unique cultural context to the program. Training will also include industry placement to give students real-world work experience.

Niagara College President Dan Patterson attended the announcement, held March 14 at NPAAMB’s annual youth career conference.

“Niagara College is constantly pursuing new ways to give our students the hands-on experience and access to industry experts they need to succeed in their career,” he said. “We’re excited to bring our expertise in experiential learning and our strong presence in Niagara’s health care, hospitality and tourism sectors to this partnership.”

The federal government will contribute nearly $3 million over four years to help improve the quality of essential skills training in hospitality, tourism and healthcare for urban Indigenous youth (ages 18-30) in southern Ontario through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program.

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