Through funding provided by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, and in partnership with the BC WIL Council and six post-secondary institutions around British Columbia, the University of Victoria led this provincial initiative to develop resources to support Indigenous student access, retention, and success in WIL programs.

Project Information

Institution(s): University of Victoria
Partner(s): University of British Columbia, Langara College, Okanagan College, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Status: In-Progress
Project Dates: November 1, 2019 — December 31, 2021
Project Contact:
Karima Ramji

Project Coordinators: Renée Livernoche, Julianna Nielsen

Project Contributors: Jewell Gillies, Jackson Traplin, Tim Michel, Robbi Davey, Heather Workman, Jennifer Doyle, Sharon Leitch

Advisors (University of Victoria): Elder Barbara Hulme, Dr. Robert Hancock, Dr. Jeff Corntassel, Ruth Young, Yvette Sellers, Hannah Gentes (student) and Dakota Nelson (student)

The Indigenous Co-op/Work-integrated Learning (WIL) Resource Hub (IRH) was developed to support Indigenous student access, retention, and success in WIL programs and placements. Resources for the IRH were informed by the findings of a literature review and by responses to a needs-assessment survey distributed to BC WIL practitioners over the summer of 2021. These resources will serve as useful tools for WIL program developers and practitioners to assist in relationship-building with employers and students, or as helpful springboards for internal program development. Some of the resources are directly relevant for student use, while others are created specifically for employers recruiting Indigenous people.

The resources available through the IRH address: (1) self-identifying on a job application, (2) tokenism, (3) partnership and representation, (4) program accessibility, and (5) responding to the TRC Calls to Action. We encourage WIL practitioners to bring these materials into their programs with a good heart and with student interests, priorities, and safety at the centre of their work.

The IRH is a living resource, with useful information and resources being added as they are shared and become available. Post-secondary institutions are invited to share resources they wish to contribute to this resource hub. For more details and to contribute to the ongoing resource hub project, please contact the project lead.

Additionally, the following resources are soon to be uploaded:

  1. Final Report on Indigenous WIL Resource Hub, expected Spring 2022
  2. Publication of a paper based on this project, in the International Journal of Work Integrated Learning, expected Spring 2022
  3. Videos to supplement resources presented in this IRH, to be added as they are completed, Spring 2022

Self-Locating & Self-Identifying

Many employers have introduced special hiring programs for Indigenous people and request that Indigenous job-seekers identify themselves in their applications. To make use of these programs, students might be asked to add a note to their cover letter, include a diversity statement, or complete a questionnaire. This resource was created to not only assist students in their decisions to disclose on job applications (or not), but also to affirm and suggest boundary-setting strategies with respect to personal privacy.

Self-Locating & Self-Identifying Information Sheet Self-Locating & Self-Identifying Poster (Videos) Career Coaching: Self-identification & Tokenism

Addressing Tokenism

Recognizing and celebrating Indigenous talents, skills, and knowledge, many employers have committed to creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. Sometimes, however, these diversity initiatives fall short of creating the supportive and safe environments in which Indigenous WIL students thrive. This collection of resources encourages employers to go beyond an ‘add and stir’ approach to diversity and inclusion, featuring strategies and conversation prompts to better recognize and counter tokenism in the workplace.

Partnership & Representation

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). In addition, its important that WIL Coordinators can collaborate with existing peer networks on campuses to increase Indigenous WIL recruitment and better support community relationships, initiatives, and goals.

Storytelling and Celebrating Successful WIL Placements Campus Cousins: Building Community on Campus (Video) Who are the LE,NOṈET Campus Cousins? (Video) Employer Response to TRC’s Calls to Action and Indigenous WIL Initiatives


The Co-op and Indigenous Third-Party Sponsorship Funding information sheet provides an overview summarizing what band offices and educational advisors may need to know about co-op at post-secondary institutions. This resource breaks down guidelines for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) as it relates to co-op and WIL opportunities, helping students approach funding partners with requests for financial support.

The Job Posting Example and Application Breakdown information sheet outlines how to read through a job posting and create tailored resumes and cover letters. Questions are posed for students to bring to co-op coordinators to assess the flexibility of job placement opportunities.

Co-op & Indigenous Third-Party Sponsorship Funding Job Posting Example and Application Breakdown

Calls to Action

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. This collection of resources responds to these Calls to Action as well as to the findings of a literature review conducted May-Sept 2021. Oriented towards WIL program development and better employer relationships, these resources outline the Calls to Action immediately relevant to WIL, provide recommendations for Indigenous WIL, and offer worksheets for enhancing and measuring employer responses to the TRC.

Responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action Recommendations for Indigenous WIL: Literature Review Findings Summary Post-Work Term Reflection and Employer Assessment Worksheet Employer Self-Assessment Worksheet

Video Collection: the Resources in Action

Who are the LE,NOṈET Campus Cousins?

Follow the stories and experiences of three Indigenous students who participated in the Campus Cousins program at UVic. Peter, Yvonne, and Boston speak to the skills they gained as Cousins and share how they’ve come to build communities and connections on their campus.

Who are the LE,NOṈET Campus Cousins?

Employer Response to TRC’s Calls to Action and Indigenous WIL Initiatives

Coastal Restoration Society (CRS) demonstrates their commitment to reconciliation and decolonization by including First Nation perspectives of environmental stewardship. Two Indigenous Students, Hannah and Anakin, who have been hired by CRS, talk about why their work placements have been so meaningful.

Employer Response to TRC’s Calls to Action and Indigenous WIL Initiatives

Career Coaching: Self-identification & Tokenism

In this two video series we explore how WIL practitioners can work with Indigenous students who are facing dilemmas of tokenism and discrimination in the work place, and navigating self-identification and self-location. WIL practitioners utilize resources from the Indigenous WIL resource hub to help coach Indigenous students on next steps.

Career Coaching: Self-identification & Tokenism

Wren’s Co-op Experience

In this fictionalized three part video series, we join Wren, who is in the midst of a co-op work placement that has her dealing with unforeseen challenges. Wren’s friend suggests she reach out to her co-op coordinator, Erica, to request access to resources and additional support.

Wren’s Co-op Experience

Partner Institution Resources

In the interest of continued resource and knowledge sharing, we invite post-secondary institutions from across the province to share their relevant materials and reports through the Indigenous WIL resource Hub. Updated on a rolling basis, partner contributions are available here:

Supporting Aboriginal Student Success: Report of the LE,NONET Research Project “Work Integrated Learning Guide for Indigenous Students” (UBC) “Work Integrated Learning Guide for Indigenous Students” (UBCO) The ‘Deep’ Map: A Community Resource Hub (TRU)