InTeRN: a young, northern workforce enters the world of ICT
Northern businesses, industries and communities have difficulty finding skilled technical workers. There is an immediate need to provide access to technology training for students in northern Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan to keep them connected to their families and communities and improve retention and success rates.
The InTeRN project provides training in Information and Communications technologies (ICT) to Indigneous women and youth, giving them skills to pursue jobs as frontline technicians with Manitoba-based ICT industries that service the North. The culturally-appropriate approach has been vital in keeping students engaged despite the many barriers they face in pursuing full-time studies while maintaining family and community obligations.
Future Skills Centre is investing $1.09 million to expand and modify this project following an earlier investment of $996,300. More than 20 Indigenous women have taken the entry-level ICT training, and seven have proceeded into the full-time Information Technology Readiness North (InTeRN) program at University College of the North.
The project’s tech skills component is enhanced by culturally-appropriate teaching and learning that includes decolonization, oral storytelling and a “sweetgrass” component. It features flexible study terms to suit family and community needs, and work-integrated learning with industry partners. Wraparound supports include mentoring, counselling, speakers, and transportation help overcome obstacles that block northern individuals from participating in Manitoba’s tech industries.
The InTeRN program has demonstrated success in creating a learning community where students take on responsibility for their learning, their classroom and workshops, and each other.
Lessons learned from previous success open the way for a modified program and another cohort of Indigenous women, as well as replicating this model of education in other sectors and regions to eliminate a situation of “jobs without people and people without jobs”.
This project will be evaluated using tools and approaches aligned with its goals, context, and stage of development. The evaluation will focus on generating the right evidence at the right moment to move the intervention forward. Read more about our evaluation strategy.