“There’s a high demand on Vancouver Island for workers with experience working with First Nations,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC’s director of Aboriginal education. “Not just working directly for First Nations, but across all sectors – everything from tourism to economic development, social services to health care.”
The curriculum includes human resources, communications and finance, along with values and ethics and the histories and impacts of colonization.
The majority of the program will be online, but students have a chance to connect in person during on-campus gatherings each semester, that will rotate between regions, giving them the opportunity to network and build relationships with each other.
“Students will learn how to build relationships with band administration, chief and council and elders,” said Laura Johnston, NIC instructor and program consultant. “It’s all relationship building, because that’s one of the most important pieces of protocol you can learn.”
The certificate was developed after NIC was approached by the K’ómoks First Nation about the need for this kind of training.
“The Aboriginal Leadership certificate is a great opportunity for any Indigenous person who hopes to raise up their community,” said Charlene Everson, education coordinator with K'ómoks First Nation. “It will give them the skills they need to navigate the intricacies of working around the Indian Act and moving towards self-governance by becoming effective leaders of change.”
Everson said the training is an asset to anyone who wants to work for or already works with First Nations.
“A non-Indigenous person who works for, or with, First Nations is making an act of reconciliation by enrolling in this program,” Everson added. “They will gain a unique perspective on the dynamic changes that continue to emerge in the world of First Nations governance and administration.”
For more information or to register, visit NIC's Aboriginal Leadership certificate program page, or call 1-800-715-0914.