A new scholarship program is open to First Nations, Inuit, or Métis-decent students interested in attending full-time forestry-related studies in a designated post-secondary institution.
Supports from the BC First Nations Forestry Council’s (BCFNFC) Indigenous Forestry Scholarship Program (IFSP) include tuition and living expenses scholarships, paid summer work-term experience, one-on-one mentorship with a program partner, and support from a local Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program centre.
“The program is designed to grow and connect Indigenous talent to BC Forest Sector Workforce opportunities,” said the BCFNFC in a release announcing the program.
“It is a work and study mentorship program that provides the opportunity for Indigenous students to access funding and enter into forestry-related training or educational programs plus a mentored summer work experience in their field.”
Students pursuing studies in the following forestry-related areas are eligible for the program:
- Forestry Technician;
- Natural Resources;
- Environmental Technology;
- Business Management
- Business Administration;
- Geographic Information Systems;
- Forestry Trades;
- Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics;
- Logging Machine Operator;
- Skidder Operator;
- Heavy-duty Mechanics.
The BCFNFC said it is an advocacy organization working to support B.C. First Nations in increasing their role as the rightful owners of forest, lands, and resources. Promoting governance and stewardship of forest resources by First Nations, the council hopes to improve and sustain economic wealth and wellbeing in these communities through Indigenous values and sustainable practices.
The forestry council developed the IFSP alongside the Ministry of Forests, and the program is now delivered in partnership with BC Timber Sales (BCTS), BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), Mosaic Forest Management, Tolko Industries Ltd., Western Forest Products Inc., and the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program (ISETP).
“Our work includes helping Indigenous students find appropriate pathways to work placements they are interested in, and providing continuous support to keep them on track towards their professional development and success,” added the release.
“IFSP also supports retention and advancement by providing opportunities for upgrading and laddering to gain the skills.”
The BCFNFC attributed the success of the IFSP to their relationships with First Nations communities, organizations and individuals, noting they are the foundation, and key, to the program’s success while enhancing their ability to recruit, mentor, and connect the students with industry partners.
The program is currently open for applications, with a four-step process. Applicants must first fill out an intake form, at which point a workforce advisor will contact them with an application form. The completed application form, along with any necessary documentation, must then be submitted to the forestry council for consideration.
For more information on the Indigenous Forestry Scholarship Program, visit the BCFNFC website at www.forestrycouncil.ca.