Province recruits Indigenous post-secondary graduates
- Local Journalism Initiative - NC Raine | November 13, 2023
A new internship program gives recent graduates an opportunity to potentially secure long-term careers in the Crown sector.
Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) has created Crown Career Pathways (CCP) for post-secondary Indigenous students interested in working within the Crown sector, provincial government, or the private sector in Saskatchewan.
“We want to increase Indigenous representation within the Crowns, and work towards a representative workforce,” said Wavell Starr, Director of Indigenous Relations at CIC.
CCP will see 22 interns being hired (11 per year) over a two-year period in positions with SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SaskWater, SGI, Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan, and CIC itself.
The pilot program is a $1.2 million commitment from CIC over the two years.
It was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 92, which calls for increased employment opportunities in the public sector for Indigenous people.
“Creating Crown Career Pathways demonstrates the Crowns’ commitment to support Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan,” said Dustin Duncan, Minister of CIC. “This internship program is an important step in ensuring Indigenous people are represented in our workforce and have quality opportunities across Saskatchewan.”
Graduates eligible for the internship program will be required to have completed a program at the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Gabriel Dumont Institute, or the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies.
In 2021, Indigenous representation in the crown sector was at 11.1%.
Starr hopes this program will boost those numbers.
“The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s target for a representative workforce for Indigenous people is 14 percent,” he said. “The goal is to gain that 14 percent. We have been making some strides, but we have a ways to go.”
Interns will be paid through CIC, but the hiring and management of the interns themselves will be the responsibility of each Crown, explains Starr.
Some of the internship positions include an Innovation and Collaboration associate, and a Project Coordinator at SaskTel; two Analyst positions at SaskPower; Human Resources generalist at SaskGaming; and Administrator of Indigenous Relations at CIC.
“The target is to have 75 percent of those interns remained employed within Saskatchewan, with 50 per cent of those interns remaining employed within the crown workforce,” said Starr.
Following the two-year pilot, a review will be conducted to measure outcomes and determine future program options.
Starr said there are discussions about potentially expanding the program following the two-year pilot.
The new interns will have access to career supports and professional development. The goal being to help build a healthy Indigenous workforce in Saskatchewan.
“It’s a good opportunity for recent Indigenous grads to get some experience within their field, as well as have the opportunity to network and grow with other interns,” said Starr. “We’re hoping this extra element of care will raise engagement levels and keep our young graduates remaining employed here in Saskatchewan.”
Internship positions began in October 2023.