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.

Project Information

Project Contact:
Karima Ramji
Project Contributors:
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.

Self-Locating and Self-Identifying
Many employers request that Indigenous students self-identify in their job application. Self-identification can take the form of adding a note in your cover letter, including a diversity statement, or completing a questionnaire. This information sheet helps students navigate their process of... Read More »
Strategies for Recognizing and Addressing Tokenism
Many employers have committed to creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. To help employers strengthen their diversity initiatives, this information sheet explains and suggests strategies to counter tokenism in the workplace. Read More »
Questions from Indigenous Students to Prospective Employers
To help employers better support and retain Indigenous employees in the workplace, Indigenous students from UVic’s Native Students Union (NSU) offered a number of questions on workplace cultures, hiring, and retention. Read More »
Interpreting Job Postings and Assessing Employers
Many employers have committed to creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. Although guided by good intentions, diversity and inclusion programs may suffer from oversights and shortcomings. This worksheet is designed to help co-op students independently research and assess their... Read More »
Job Posting Example and Application Breakdown
This information sheet outlines how to read through a job posting and create tailored resumes and cover letters. A few questions are posed for students to bring to co-op coordinators while assessing their fit for the position.  Read More »
Post-Work Term Reflection and Employer Assessment Worksheet
This worksheet presents WIL students with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in their workplaces. Students might also choose to share their employer’s assessment with their WIL/Co-op coordinators. We encourage WIL practitioners to listen to... Read More »
Employer Self-Assessment Worksheet
This worksheet presents Work Integrated Learning (WIL) employers an opportunity to reflect on their active commitments to equity, diversity, inclusion, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We encourage employers to share their reflections, concerns, and questions with... Read More »
Campus Cousins: Building Community on Campus
Who better to support and guide Indigenous students completing WIL/Co-op programs than Indigenous students themselves? This information sheet suggests some ways that WIL Coordinators can collaborate with existing peer networks on campuses to increase Indigenous WIL recruitment and better support... Read More »
Co-op & Indigenous Third-Party Sponsorship Funding
Funding may be available to students through Indigenous funding bodies or partners. However, Indigenous funding bodies or partners have different guidelines around the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) as it relates to co-op and WIL opportunities. This infosheet provides an overview... Read More »
Recommendations for Indigenous WIL: Literature Review Findings Summary
This information sheet summarizes 10 recommendations and strategies for improving Indigenous student access, retention, and success in WIL programs and placements. Read More »
Storytelling and Celebrating Successful WIL Placements
The representation of Indigenous student success is an important part of student and employer recruitment. Communications teams should work with Indigenous students and employers to celebrate and share positive stories of work-integrated learning (WIL). This Information sheet suggests some... Read More »
Hiring Indigenous Students: The Job Posting and Beyond
This information sheet looks to support employers that are reflecting and acting on commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action on employment disparity. This short explainer clarifies the language of special hiring programs and offers strategies to connect with... Read More »
Responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action (Poster)
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published 94 Calls to Action tasking governments and institutions to amend their policies and practices to redress the harms of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system. Read More »