The Aboriginal population in British Columbia is growing at more than triple the rate of the non-Aboriginal population, with 46% under the age of 25. Ensuring they have access to post-secondary education and training is a key component of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and crucial to meeting current and future labour market demands.
The Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan aims to help Aboriginal people succeed in education and training programs in B.C. Its goal is to increase the number of credentials awarded to Aboriginal learners by 75% by 2020-21. In 2014-15, 3,340 credentials were awarded to Aboriginal learners, an increase of 27%, or 706 over 2009-10.
The plan includes programs and supports to help Aboriginal learners succeed, including:
Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships
- $34.7 million in funding since 2012 for partnerships between Aboriginal communities and public post-secondary institutions to deliver programs in communities that meet community needs and position Aboriginal people to take advantage of economic opportunities.
- To date, the program has supported more than 2,700 Aboriginal learners in more than 70 communities through 110 projects.
Aboriginal Service Plans
- Approximately $4 million in annual funding to 11 public post-secondary institutions for implementation of Aboriginal Service Plans, which support programs, activities and services to meet the needs of Aboriginal learners.
- Programs funded through the plans include Elders-in-residence, cultural learning, mentoring, development of partnerships with Aboriginal communities and organizations, and program development and delivery.
- Since 2008, $15 million to create 31 Aboriginal Gathering Places at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
- Since 2012, $4.3 million in one-time funding to establish an Aboriginal Emergency Financial Assistance Fund to provide support for Aboriginal students experiencing a short-term financial crisis.
- An additional $2 million for the BC Aboriginal Student Award, which was established at the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society in 2008 with a $10-million endowment, and $3 million in special funding for Aboriginal students taking masters and doctoral degrees. The BC Aboriginal Student Award provides financial assistance to Aboriginal students for post-secondary education and training.
- $2 million in funding to establish the Aboriginal Teacher Education Award at the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society. The Aboriginal Teacher Education Award provides financial assistance for Aboriginal learners in teacher education programs.
- Since 2009, the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society has granted over $4 million in awards to more than 1,300 Aboriginal students to support their education at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
- Just over $ 1 million to 14 public post-secondary institutions to provide new and expanded programs and services that support Aboriginal students during their studies in 2016-17.
- In 2016/17, $350,000 to BCcampus to support the development of resources for all post-secondary institution faculty and staff help them be better prepared to meet the needs of Aboriginal students and communities, and to incorporate Aboriginal content, teaching methods, and other approaches of Indigenization into their educational practices.
Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/aboriginal-education-training/aboriginal_action_plan.pdf