Shaw Community

First Nations Technology Council Launches Digital Skills Bursary Fund for Indigenous Students

November 17, 2021

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) Today, The First Nations Technology Council launched the Digital Skills Bursary Fund designed to help Indigenous learners and innovators access digital skills training opportunities that will increase participation and leadership in Canada's tech sector and economy.

This new Bursary Fund will allow students flexible funding options to access digital skills training programs - at no cost - through the Indigenous Innovation Institute, which is an initiative of the First Nations Technology Council. Through the Technology Council, the Institute is mandated by First Nations Leadership to extend future-ready skills to Indigenous learners in BC and beyond. To date, the Institute has trained over 800 Indigenous students across the province. The Technology Council aims to have approximately 350 students go through its programming each year, with at least 10% receiving financial support through the Digital Skills Bursary Fund.

"Canada's Information Communications and Technology (ICT) sector is rapidly growing and is critical to our economic recovery. However, only 1.2% of the Indigenous population are currently employed in ICT roles nationally," said Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council. "The problem is that mainstream technology training programs that are not Indigenous designed and led with appropriate cultural context, reference, and support, have not successfully attracted, retained, or trained Indigenous peoples to take on significant roles in the sector. That's where our programs and the Digital Skills Bursary Fund come in."

The Technology Council is pleased to have received philanthropic support for the Digital Skills Bursary Fund from Shaw, MetaLab, and the McCall MacBain Foundation.

"As technology becomes more embedded into our daily lives, providing appropriate digital skills education and training opportunities to future leaders, creatives and innovators is needed now more than ever," said Zoran Stakic, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Shaw Communications. "We're excited by the possibilities created by the Bursary Fund and the ongoing work of the First Nations Technology Council to help open the doors for more Indigenous people to explore the technology sector as a potential career path.

"We're proud to partner with the First Nations Technology Council as they launch the Digital Skills Bursary Fund. As a Canadian tech company, it's our responsibility to create opportunities for Indigenous representation in tech. We're honoured to be a part of this fund and excited to invest in the next generation of designers and developers in BC," said Chief Operating Officer of MetaLab, Stephanie Ito.

To learn more about the Digital Skills Bursary Fund and to contribute, please visit technologycouncil.ca/bursary/

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