By Calgary Employer Forum – April 22, 2022
NPower Canada – Indigenous Tech Career Pathways
NPower Canada is a charitable organization that launches Canadian job seekers ages 17+ into meaningful and sustainable careers in technology. They provide free in-demand digital and professional skills training programs and prioritize individuals from underserved communities, including Indigenous and rural groups.
Realizing the unique needs of Indigenous job seekers, NPower Canada developed their Indigenous Tech Career Pathways to provide First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) participants with enhanced wraparound services and Elder-led counselling to support their successful completion of the NPower Canada program and their transition into the tech industry.
- Opening prayers and sharing circles
- Career and personal exploration activities
- Life skills coaching
- Culturally relevant wrap-around support
In Alberta, NPower Canada has partnered with Miskanawah to deliver the Indigenous Tech Career Pathways sessions to address three main goals:
- To create an inclusive and culturally sensitive space through the use of ceremony by incorporating Indigenous systems of belief and an environment where Indigenous job seekers feel welcome and connected.
- Begin to form habits and routines that will lead to success in the NPower Canada program and beyond. Having structure in place helps individuals know and prepare for what is coming next and ultimately contributes to long-term success.
- Breaking down unknown/unspoken barriers that Indigenous youth face. Co-creating an environment of belonging where the youth can envision themselves participating in tech training and the IT workforce.
NPower Canada is committed to inclusion and increased representation of Indigenous peoples in the tech workforce across Canada. In addition to partnering with Miskanawah, NPower Canada’s partnership with Google Canada, ComIT, and Indspire, provides IT training to Indigenous learners across Canada.
Becca Buffalo, originally of Maskwacis, shared her experience as an Indigenous youth who participated in NPower Canada’s Junior IT Analyst program in an interview with Windspeaker.
Prior to joining NPower Canada, Becca faced obstacles to employment. While some of these obstacles were due to her limited technical knowledge, what really stood in Becca’s way was her lack of confidence in herself, her fear of uncertainty, and her feeling like it was too late for her to try something new.
Thankfully this would all change! Becca was drawn to the NPower Canada program because of employment opportunities and the additional support NPower Canada offered to Indigenous youth. “I am aboriginal and [NPower Canada] asked me if I wanted to take part in a ‘Sharing Circle’ where we would talk about all things important and about ourselves.” said Becca. “We once had an elder who told us stories, and the speaker for each Sharing Circle was a kind-hearted individual who would sing us traditional songs, and teach us about traditional practices.”
Recently, NPower Canada expanded their offerings in Alberta, servicing not only Calgary, but individuals from Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Red Deer. NPower Canada celebrated their first alumni from these regions at their January 2022 graduation. Less than a month since completing the program, 30% of the Alberta cohort had found employment or enrolled in higher education. Overall in 2021, NPower Canada graduates across Canada had an over 80% rate of employment within six months of finishing the program.
For more information about NPower Canada, or to apply to one of their free tech training programs, please visit https://npowercanada.ca/.