First Nations Technology Council Executive Director, Denise Williams, and Royal Roads University President, Allan Cahoon, shake hands at the partnership event for FiiT at Royal Roads Feb. 23. (Dan Anthon/ Royal Roads University)

Royal Roads University and First Nations Technology Council partner for tech education

The program provides six technical and innovation streams to indigenous groups

The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) and Royal Roads University have partnered to expand access to digital skills training for Indigenous innovators.

The program introduced by the partnership is called Foundations in Innovation and Technology (FiiT) and was developed by FNTC to allow Indigenous people the opportunity to explore careers within the province’s technoloy and innovation sector. Royal Roads’ Centre for Teaching and Education Technologies will provide the platform to deliver the programs beginning in fall 2018.

FiiT is the brainchild of FTNC executive director Denise Williams, who started the project four years ago, revised the model two years ago and just recently received funding for it.

There are currently six practical, project-based streams: web development and coding, GIS/GPS and mapping, social media, software testing, network technician, and MS Office professionals. For programs like web development the training is provided entirely through FiiT, and for other programs FiiT is the convener and students will be directed to partners and receive mentorship from indigenous-led organizations to help students move to the next academic or professional step, Williams said.

“The B.C. tech report that came out last year identified where talent shortages in the province will be,” Williams said. “So we built this in response to where we know there is going to be talent shortages in the tech and innovation sector at a foundational level.”

Network technicians are particularly important to indigenous communities to address connectivity issues in remote locations and problems with infrastructure.

One of the first graduates of the FiiT pilot web developer program, Bryce Sayers of Métis decent, found the program challenging, but was provided the support he needed and feels it was a very rewarding experience.

“A little less than a year ago I was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan working a dead-end job, where it’s extremely cold and there’s barely any tech in sight,” Sayers said. “But today I’m happy to say I live and work in metro Vancouver as a web developer. This was achieved only with the help of the FNTC, they have allowed me to pursue a career path I enjoy, and with that opportunity, I have ended up in a place I couldn’t imagined I would be.”

Sayers is a full-stack developer at Predicted Property, which links buyers and sellers of real estate.

FiiT is broken into two segments: foundations and futures. Foundations gives students a taste of all six programs in two weeks and futures is the specialized stream and the timeframe is different for each. In Sayers’ case, it was an eight-week program, five days a week in the classroom and two days a week at an internship.

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) is the third partner and founding member of FiiT. NVIT has been a public, post-secondary since 1995 with a specific Indigenous mandate that will help deliver in-person instruction. NVIT delivers post-secondary for Indigenous youth that don’t want to leave their communities, and has students from 65 per cent of B.C.’s 203 bands.

Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads president, said that through collaboration these three very different organizations are able to achieve something they wouldn’t be able to do individually.

The Province’s first innovation commissioner, Alan Winter, was also in attendance at the event and discussed the importance of this initiative when it comes to the supercluster bid. This is a federal bid to bring innovation and investment to B.C. for Canada’s digital technology supercluster, Williams also participates with this team.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Langford considers regulating sale of spray paint following string of vandalism

Regulations could involve restricting sale to minors, locking up spray paint

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read