The regionally-based and accessible Indigenous Co-op/Work-integrated Learning Resource Hub was developed to support Indigenous student access, retention, and success in WIL programs and placements.
University of British Columbia
Simon Fraser University
Thompson Rivers University
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Project Dates: November 1, 2019 — January 31, 2021
Renée Livernoche, Julianna Nielsen
The regionally-based and accessible Indigenous Co-op/Work-integrated Learning (WIL) Resource Hub (hereafter IRH) was developed to support Indigenous student access, retention, and success in WIL programs and placements. Further, the IRH was intended to support post-secondary institutions (PSIs) to reduce barriers to WIL opportunities for Indigenous students, to broaden access to WIL in rural British Columbia (BC), and to improve educational experiences and labour market readiness. The resources were informed by the conclusions of the literature review and by the findings of a needs-assessment survey for WIL practitioners. 60 respondents from 13 different BC colleges and universities offered reflections on how their institutions support Indigenous students in WIL programs, how they engage with employers hiring Indigenous people, and how they work with (local) Indigenous Nations and communities.
A total of 13 resources have been developed for the IRH, 3-5 videos are in-the-works, and one article detailing barriers and opportunities for Indigenous WIL has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Work Integrated Learning. Additionally, these resources formed the basis for two talks: the first being for a Professional Development session for co-op coordinators at the University of Victoria (Nov 2, 2021), and the second being a presentation at the National Association for Law Placement’s 2021 Canadian Diversity Summit (Nov 30, 2021). The materials offered through the IRH (in the forms of information sheets, posters, and worksheets) address issues of self-identifying on job application, of tokenism in hiring and recruitment, and of funding and program accessibility. Although some opportunities to strengthen rural WIL placements were identified in the literature review, the IRH materials are more relevant to the other two goals identified at the outset of the project: to reduce barriers to WIL programs for Indigenous students and to enhance student experiences and transitions into the workforce.
The IRH offers materials that are immediately relevant to WIL practitioners, employers, and Indigenous students. In terms of long-term program development, the resources collectively highlight the importance of relationship building between these groups and these materials encourage and support a culture of respect, openness, and accountability.