Partnership enhances career opportunities

There was added reason to celebrate at the First Nations Christmas feast Dec. 7 at Vancouver Island University.

Rick Colbourne

Rick Colbourne

There was added reason to celebrate at the First Nations Christmas feast Dec. 7 at Vancouver Island University.

The lunch-hour event at Shq’apthut: A Gathering Place, marked a new partnership between Vancouver Island University and Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education.

Ch’nook encourages First Nations students to pursue educational opportunities in business and related fields through scholarships, networking events, high school outreach, advanced management training and other programs.

The Ch’nook initiative – aimed at increasing First Nations participation in post-secondary business education – originated a decade ago at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. It has evolved with the support of the provincial government, post-secondary business education programs in B.C., corporations and other sponsors.

“We’re proud to be partners with Ch’nook and value its contribution to students through scholarships, mentoring and networking,” said Ralph Nilson, VIU president. “The business and management skills that First Nations students develop will enrich their lives, open up new opportunities and support them in strengthening their communities.”

VIU, through the faculty of management, has been affiliated with Ch’nook for several years, but will now expand its role as a regional partner.

The university’s role as a regional partner with Ch’nook will also increase awareness about business and management career opportunities among First Nations high school students through the Ch’nook Cousins program.

Through the Cousins initiative, Ch’nook scholars visit high schools and share their experiences with First Nations students who may not realize the array of employment possibilities in marketing, accounting, management, finance and other specialties.

Eight VIU students have been accepted as Ch’nook scholars for 2012 . They receive $1,000 initially and $1,000 upon completion of their year’s studies.

This year’s Ch’nook scholars in the bachelor of business administration program at VIU include Lyndsey Colleen Bell, Renee Debra Bryant, Nicola Lee-Ann Hall, Savanah Celine Seaton, Ian Blake Simson, Rhea Clair Simpson and Early Timothy Tatoosh.

Elaine Kwandibens is this year’s Ch’nook scholar in the master of business administration.