Learning partnership for Indigenous youth

Indigenous youth make up the fastest growing demographic in Canada, yet their levels of education attainment are far below those of other Canadians. To help address this issue, the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, co-hosted two events in 2016 to bring together national Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, education experts, and youth to discuss a national project that would support best practices in Indigenous education, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for Indigenous learners.

In the spirit of reconciliation, these events were driven by the principles of co-creation and collaboration, and incorporated traditional Indigenous worldviews, perspectives, and processes.

The ideas developed at these sessions have given life to a new learning partnership that will help double the enrolment and completion rates of Indigenous students at the post-secondary level, and to successfully transition them to the workforce. This learning partnership is an innovative collaboration between the RHF, the Mastercard Foundation, Vancouver Island University (VIU), Yukon College and Indigenous communities across the Yukon and Vancouver Island. We are working collaboratively to ensure Indigenous learners become full partners in their education with a focus on listening, identifying needs, and building a network of support across Canada in the years to come.

“Education holds the key to reconciliation. It is where our country will heal itself.” — Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, from a keynote address to St. Francis Xavier University, Nov. 8, 2016

Through a model of co-creation and collaboration, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Yukon College have been instrumental in the design and development of a learning partnership with a total value of $50 million. This partnership amplifies existing in-kind and financial contributions from government, the private sector, Indigenous communities and the two higher educational institutions by bringing in new support from the Mastercard Foundation and Rideau Hall Foundation.

This learning partnership creates opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education by providing educational experiences and support that are relevant to them. Students at VIU and Yukon College began to receive the full support of this partnership in September 2017.

VIU and Yukon College have been integral in designing and developing initiatives supported by this partnership and were selected based on their experience and knowledge in addressing access to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners. This new learning partnership aims to augment existing initiatives at these institutions as they work with communities to remove barriers to education for Indigenous youth.

The partnership takes a holistic approach and provides wrap-around support such as leadership and cultural programming. Each institution will also tailor its services to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Indigenous community partners will work collaboratively with VIU and Yukon College to identify and recruit students.

Learn more about Vancouver Island University’s programming.

Learn more about Yukon College’s programming.