Vancouver, B.C. (June 29, 2023) – The Business Council of B.C., the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, and Vancouver Island University welcome a contribution to the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program (IILP) from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), totalling $1.33 million over four years. The program connects qualifying Indigenous post-secondary graduates with two-year internships with prominent B.C. employers. This funding supports reconciliation in action, identifying and providing employment opportunities for post graduate Indigenous trade, technical or professional graduates for a minimum of two years in any sector of the economy and who will, in turn, bring Indigenous perspectives, needs and aspirations into their workplace.
"The Business Council appreciates the partnership and commitment from Indigenous Services Canada in support of this program and the young Indigenous professionals who will benefit from new opportunities,” said Laura Jones, President and CEO, Business Council of B.C. "This support will enable us to expand the reach of the IILP and offer more opportunities for Indigenous youth to gain valuable work experience, develop their skills and more fully participate in the B.C. economy."
“The funding from ISC will enable the IILP to expand its operations, develop new partnerships with organizations, and increase the number of internship opportunities available to Indigenous professionals in B.C. and across Canada,” said Deb Saucier, President, Vancouver Island University. “The program will also enable us to provide additional support for mentorship and training.”
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, B.C. Assembly of First Nations noted, “The demand for the program is quickly growing. This funding expands the program and ensures more interns have opportunities to participate, network with their peers, support their career development and develop transferrable leadership skills that can be deployable in their home communities.”
Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, also highlighted the impact of this funding: “Supporting Indigenous graduates builds a strong Indigenous economy, and that’s good for the prosperity of the country. The skills Indigenous youth build through this internships program will empower them to build successful careers and brighter futures.”
Since its inception, the program has provided opportunities to many Indigenous professionals employed by private companies, Indigenous organizations, various levels of government, and band councils. With this new funding from ISC, the program will continue to positively impact the lives of Indigenous professionals and help build a more inclusive and prosperous B.C. and Canada. Furthermore, the program partners will work with officials in other provinces to replicate this model, paving the way for more Indigenous professionals to access meaningful employment, mentors, and leadership development.
For more information about the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program, please visit https://indigenous.viu.ca/indigenous-intern-leadership
Business Council of British Columbia
Vancouver Island University
Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Annette Schroeter, Communications Officer
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services
Zeus Eden, Press Secretary
Media Relations Indigenous Services Canada