The First Nations Technology Council (The Technology Council) is an Indigenous-led organization that serves all 204 First Nations communities across the Province of British Columbia. Established in 2002, they are mandated by BC First Nations Leadership to provide digital skills training to Indigenous learners, realize digital equity, and ensure Indigenous Peoples and communities play an active role in leading and shaping the future of tech.
ADVANCING INDIGENOUS VISIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Today, technology weaves through nearly every aspect of our lives from work to education; culture and health; environmental stewardship; rights implementation; and more. Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples used and advanced technology, but colonialism, and the systemic barriers it creates, excluded them from equitably participating and leading in the evolution of current technology.
The Technology Council knows that only 1.2% of Indigenous Peoples in what is currently known as Canada are employed in the tech sector. They also know the tech sector is growing at an astounding rate, and the edges of it are becoming less defined as other sectors become increasingly reliant on technology. This is why their digital skills training programs are so important.
Grounded in Indigenous culture, wisdom, and ways of being, Technology Council programs have a 35% higher completion rate among Indigenous learners than non Indigenous training programs. They take a made-for-you approach to learning to ensure each individual feels safe, welcomed, and able to define what success looks like for themselves. Their life and career-ready training programs provide the skills to ensure Indigenous Peoples can merge their knowledge, culture, and ways of being with leadership roles in technology to create change for current and future generations.
INDIGENOUS-DESIGNED AND LED
Informed by over a decade of work, the Technology Council has built 18 Indigenous-designed technology training courses of varying levels and specialties. To date, they have served more than 1,400 Indigenous Peoples across BC, and observed a 73% success rate with Indigenous learners graduating from their respective programs. They work with learners one-on-one to ensure their learning goals are met and create space for each individual to make their dreams about a future using technology and innovation become a reality.
The Technology Council’s recent multi-year labour market study found that financial barriers are the most significant challenge preventing Indigenous learners from pursuing tech training opportunities. Employers’ barriers preventing them from hiring Indigenous staff primarily centred around education, skills and experience, and availability of applicants. In comparison, Indigenous survey participants’ major barriers to accessing tech-related opportunities were financial access to education and awareness of technology related roles. This suggests that the major barrier to improving Indigenous participation in technology is systemic. The report is available at technologycouncil.ca.
This disconnect is why the Technology Council created their Digital Skills Bursary Fund. The fund ensures the organization can keep delivering and expanding the courses they offer at no cost to learners – with additional weekly financial and cultural support, and career and alumni mentorship.
You can help the Technology Council reboot the system and make an impact by contributing to the Digital Skills Bursary Fund.
Name: Kim Henderson
Title: Director, Indigenous Innovation Institute
Organization: First Nations Technology Council
Indigenous community: Inuk of the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut
“As fast as technology changes and grows, let us often reflect on the impact it has on the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our communities. Ask yourself how technology can be used for good, and how can innovation sustain our next generations?”
Name: Leonard Samuel Cody Moore
Title: Network Technician / Technology Council Alumnus
Organization: Nisga’a Lisims Government Internet and Technology Services
Indigenous community: Nisga’a Nation / Nisga’a
“Because of the lack of jobs in my village I was forced to move away. I then discovered the First Nations Technology Council and was introduced to a career path. The way they structured the curriculum made a lot of sense to me, and they brought in First Nations professionals who talked about the importance of having representation in technology to preserve our cultures. I have since been able to move home and am helping connect the Nisga’a Nation to fibre optic.“
35% higher completion rate than non-Indigenous programs
350 learners per year is their goal
1400+ learners trained to-date
18 courses to choose from
73% of graduates are applying their skills in new ways