Advisors from across BC post-secondary institutions unite to engage and support Indigenous students

By Public Affairs | September 10, 2020
           

Aboriginal Services Jewell Gillies
Jewell Gillies, Executive Board Chair for Strengthening Connections

Strengthening Connections, an Indigenous recruitment initiative for post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, will have a whole new look and feel this fall.

As post-secondary institutions across the province have geared up for remote or alternative delivery for fall semester, recruiters have also made the switch to a virtual world, notes Jewell Gillies, who currently serves as Executive Board Chair for Strengthening Connections and works in Aboriginal Services and Student, Grad and Co-op Employment at Okanagan College.

“Strengthening Connections is about providing Indigenous learners with the opportunity to engage with Indigenous recruiters from both the post-secondary institutions and also many employers across the province as well,” says Gillies. “Our goal is to create a safe space for Indigenous community, to share with them the vast opportunities in education and careers that are available to them, and to provide guidance on how to access these opportunities.”

Strengthening Connections was formed in 2006 with a core group of Indigenous recruiters and advisors from several BC post-secondary institutions with the mandate to provide Indigenous Peoples in BC with the information they need to successfully pursue post-secondary education.

Since then Strengthening Connections (SC) has grown to include all major universities in BC along with a number of colleges. Although Strengthening Connections members hail from individual institutions throughout BC, they work as a team collaboratively to assist those they serve in finding the best options for them.

Strengthening Connections Logo

“In typical years, the members of SC would travel as a cohort across the province, visiting high schools and Indigenous communities to promote awareness and engage folks in dialogue to showcase how their Indigenous identity is not only valued at these institutions, but needed in order to continue the work of Reconciliation and decolonizing educational systems,” explains Gillies.

“This year, we hope to reach more Indigenous communities than ever with our virtual recruitment ‘tour’, utilizing technology to reach every remote area in the province, as well as hosting two national recruitment events,” says Gillies. “There will be 24 institutions and/or employers represented in this virtual career fair this year, the most representation we have had for any of our recruitment years. Indigenous community members will be able to connect directly with our recruiters through virtual chat sessions, and download any information they need on a specific institution to better inform them on their opportunities.”

“While the experience will look different this year, the feeling will remain the same, our recruiters focus on exemplifying our core values as a collaborative: Culture, Community & Relationships, Collaboration, Compassion and Empowerment,” says Gillies.

To find more information on when the virtual tour will be in your area, or to connect with the Executive Board for Strengthening Connections please contact Board Chair Jewell Gillies (they/them) at jgillies@okanagan.bc.ca



Tags: Indigenization, Inside OC

TOP STORIES

RELATED STORIES

Sign up for weekly stories




Trending

Engineering Technology students Chase Seale and Myles Derksen
College spotlights new Common First-Year Engineering and other tech programs via virtual info session

June 15, 2020

Future engineers and technologists take note: Okanagan College is opening up a new pathway to engineering next year, and in the meantime is opening students’ eyes to other technologies careers in high demand. The College will welcome its first intake of students to its new Common First-Year Engineering (CFYE) program in Fall of 2021. The one-year CFYE certificate provides a comprehensive applied science foundation and sets students up to transfer into second-year university engineering studies. Students will complete courses in a variety of...

Read more...
Kofoed family
Kofoed family celebrates the role of nurses

June 10, 2020

A $60,000 gift from the Kofoed family will honour a very special nurse in their life, and a generation of new nurses entering the field. Jack Kofoed, and his children Jacqueline, Leah, Jillian and Jeremy are giving to the Our Students, Your Health campaign to help complete construction on a new Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Jack’s wife Leona was a nurse. She passed away in 2017, and this gift recognizes her life’s work and the special care she received during her final days, according to her family. “Mom was o...

Read more...
Tuition Winner Brittani Sali
Contest winner inspired to help others

May 26, 2020

When Brittani Sali answered the phone and learned she was the winner of a $5,000 tuition giveaway contest, she thought she might be dreaming. The 22-year old was just waking up, and she hadn’t been expecting the call from local radio announcer B Mack. Lucky for Sali, winning the tuition giveaway towards any health program at Okanagan College wasn’t a dream. The 22-year old was among one of 80 people who entered the contest, which was sponsored by the Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Fund, in partnership with Virgin Radio and the Okanagan Col...

Read more...
Isabel Fabian Animation grad
Drawing together: College and industry gather virtually to celebrate animation students

May 21, 2020

If there was ever a time to get animated, this was it – albeit with a virtual twist. While COVID-19 may have altered the format for the ceremony, it couldn’t dampen the excitement as studios from across the valley joined Okanagan College this week in recognizing the newest soon-to-be grads from its Animation diploma program. At the OC Animation department’s second-annual Industry Night on May 13, a group of second-year students on their way to graduation and first-year students who have now crossed the half-way mark of their program were ce...

Read more...