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About Training Opportunities

The research that this program conducts is fundamentally interdisciplinary. Students participating in the program will have opportunities to develop professional and employability skills, participate in gatherings and workshops, and have access to mentorship and a chance to network. This approach is critical for affirming the culture and traditions of all Indigenous trainees while also building cultural fluency and skills in allied trainees. 

This interdisciplinary approach is also critical to engaging a wide diversity of private, non-profit and public sector partners that reflect environmental NGOs (Green Action Center, Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba EcoNetwork, Experimental Lakes Area), Indigenous organizations (Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective, Verna J Kirkness), industry umbrella groups (Manitoba Environmental Industry Association, Manitoba Northern Sector Council), engineering firms (Nexom) and environmental consultants (Integral Ecology Group). This diversity is also true of the government partners (Indigenous Services Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). In addition to providing a flexible research approach that is more likely to appeal to trainees with a wide diversity of interests, this interdisciplinary and holistic approach helps bridge any differences between the Western and Indigenous sciences.

About Training Opportunities infograph

Professional and Employability Skills

This program will emphasize a mix of hard, soft, and cultural skill development when it comes to training. These will be nurtured in a combination of hands-on experiences in the class and on the land while working on research projects on or off campus and through “work-study” programs like internships and co-op placements with potential employers. Trainees will have the opportunity to work on and to take the leadership over their research projects. 

Skills will be fostered in ways that vary according to the level of trainee engagement. This will include working closely with Elders and knowledge keepers on campus and the land, hands-on cultural training, online and in-person workshops and experiential learning, and providing access to online resources collected and, in some cases, developed by our program.

Dr. Michael Rennie using water testing equipment in a boat (photo by Alex Ross). 

Hard (Technical Skills)

• Foundations in math and science 
• Using analytical equipment and materials 
• Research design Data analysis

Soft Skills

• Problem solving 
• Critical thinking 
• Written and verbal communication 
• Working in team environments 
• Project management 
• Resume and network building 
• Using social media

Traditional Skills & Indigenous Research Approaches

• Skills related to traditional culture, language and Indigenous knowing
• Indigenous methodology
• The 4 R’s (Respect, Relevance, Responsibility and Reciprocity)

Data & Research Sovereignty

• OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession)
Principles for Indigenous Data Sovereignty
• CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, Ethics)
Principles for Data Governance
• Community-based research

Gatherings and Workshops

All trainees, regardless of where they work or reside in Canada, will have the opportunity to attend workshops, conferences, and gatherings in other parts of the country and attend conferences that are national in scope. This will facilitate a wide diversity of learning and employment opportunities for all trainees involved in our project and those from equivalent initiatives elsewhere. These gatherings will also provide networking opportunities with Indigenous communities and organizations. 

Mentorships and Networking

A critical part of our project will be the networking and connecting of trainees with potential employers. This will be done in ways that build on the activities of partners like the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association, which through the work of student chapters connects trainees with employers in person and online.

We hope to create opportunities explicitly for Indigenous trainees and all trainees working with Indigenous communities and organizations. There will also be opportunities for potential employers to increase their cultural fluency. Even organizations that already have Indigenous employees will benefit from opportunities for these employees to network with and learn from one another. 

Future career possibilities for trainees

Trainees will be developing research skills in NSE (Natural Science and Engineering) fields related to the environmental sector. Support will also extend to environment-related work in the health and social sciences and the humanities. 

The environmental sector is predicted to grow rapidly, representing a 44% increase in jobs from 2020 to 2030 (EcoCanada 2021). Although the sector as a whole is expected to grow by 9% by 2029, 30% of the workforce will also retire by 2030, in part reflecting its rapid emergence as an important labour market in the 1970s. In total, this will represent 233,500 job openings during this time (EcoCanada 2021). Many of these jobs along with the sector in its entirety will have direct implications for Indigenous communities and organizations and many will be located in northern regions of Canada. 

Indigenous employment in the environmental sector is still “very limited” and only 18% of workers are visible minorities much less self-identifying as Indigenous (EcoCanada 2022). These positions tend to be temporary and construction-related, and often center on service jobs including security, cleaning, and retail. 

Meaningful change is already underway and outreach with many employers across all sectors that gave rise to this proposal indicates that there is much interest in hiring Indigenous trainees but that they are in extremely short supply and hard for employers to identify. 


EcoCanada. 2021. A Green Economic Recovery: Trends, Developments, and Opportunities for the Environmental Workforce. Retrieved from https://eco.ca/new-reports/a-green-economic-recovery-trends-developments-and-opportunities-for-the-environmental-workforce/#:~:text=In%20this%20report%2C%20%22A%20Green,jobs%20between%202020%20to%202030.

EcoCanada. 2022. Barriers to Indigenous Recruitment. Webinar. Retrieved from https://eco.ca/online-learning/barriers-to-indigenous-recruitment/