Indigenous high school students from across B.C.’s Central Interior are spending four days exploring post-secondary opportunities at CNC and the University of Northern British Columbia during Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) West’s Science Week Aug. 6-9.
OYEP is a local, community driven initiative that works towards equity and opportunity for Indigenous Youth through land-based education, training and work opportunities. Developed in 2000 as a forestry training initiative, OYEP has grown to a nation-wide opportunity with a network of more than 500 graduates from 71 communities across Canada.
“Science Week sits in between weeks of hands on experience in forestry, mining, and energy sectors,” said Vanessa McGibbon, OYEP West Supervisor, in a news release. “The rangers get exposed to all types of jobs that they can one day apply for, and our week at the school exposes them to coursework that will get them there. It is a great way to remind them how important their schoolwork is and push them to try their best when they go back to their communities.”
OYEP’s Science Week kicked off at CNC Aug. 6. Students received a tour of the campus before learning the ins-and-outs of the automotive trade, and more about natural resource clean energy projects with CNC’s Applied Research and Innovation department. On Aug. 7, students join CNC’s Natural Resource and Forest Technology program on a trip to Ispah Lake where they’ll get hands-on experience with research techniques while out in the field.
“OYEP is an innovative program offering life-changing opportunities for Indigenous youth throughout Canada,” said Edward Benoit, Dean of Community & Continuing Education at CNC. “We’re proud to partner with OYEP and UNBC to offer students an immersive post-secondary experience while in Prince George for Science Week.”
On Aug. 8, the OYEP program heads to UNBC for a tour of the campus. Following that, students will engage in forestry activities such as tree coring, dating culturally modified trees, and tree identification in the I.K Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory. The next day, students will receive a terrestrial vertebrate lab demo and participate in fish lab exercises before concluding the week with a bioenergy tour.
“We’re pleased to welcome Indigenous students to our campus where they will gain hands-on knowledge from our award-winning researchers,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “It’s an opportunity to showcase UNBC as a warm, welcoming learning environment and that develops teamwork, leadership and innovation.”
For more information about OYEP West, visit www.outland.ca/oyep