Empowering Aboriginal Youth
In 2011, NAIT partnered with Cenovus Energy and the Government of Canada to launch an outreach program for aboriginal youth. The Aboriginal Youth Leadership program was initially offered to 66 youth from the Dene Tha First Nation community located near High Level in Northern Alberta.
Inspired by the pilot program’s success, Cenovus continued to sponsor the program for five more aboriginal communities – making it possible for a total of 185 youth between 12 to 30 years of age to have access to this training.
“Cenovus is proud of our long-standing partnership with NAIT. Together, we deliver this program to honour our commitment to helping the communities near our operations become stronger and better off because we’re there,” said Vicki Reid, director of community affairs.
By the end of the program, students experience a stronger sense of self-awareness and self-esteem. Nicole Auger, a student from the Bigstone Cree Nation community witnessed this first-hand when she completed the program in 2014. “Students who could barely talk over a whisper at the beginning of the two weeks were speaking out loud in front of the class.”
Students also learn practical skills to empower them to be leaders within their communities and pursue future educational opportunities. Some course work includes effective communications, leadership and facilitation, problem solving and decision making.
Cenovus, said Reid, agrees that program will have a long-term impact. “We believe strongly in supporting aboriginal youth to create a bright future for generations to come.”
Read more about NAIT’s partnership with Cenovus here.