Mosaic Forest Management and Vancouver Island University say that a program that offers Indigenous grads with internships is bearing fruit.
The program, created in 2019, has its roots from the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and the B.C. Business Council, according to a press release, and Hayden Leo, an intern and forester in training, has been one of the beneficiaries of the program, hoping to parlay his experience to work with Lil’wat Forestry Ventures LP, near Mount Currie, B.C.
Leo has interned with Mosaic the past two years and his career objectives “were to learn diverse operational skills that he could take with him back to his community,” the press release said.
“My internship at Mosaic has been an incredible learning experience, and my supervisors focused on providing exposure and training in a huge diversity of professional practices,” Leo said in the press release. “From learning how to plan at higher levels to fully engineering a harvest unit, this internship will help me become a more well-rounded forestry professional and better equip me to go back and help my community.”
Klay Tindall, Lil’wat general manager of forestry operations, said developing leadership and skills from within the nation to manage land and resources in the traditional territory is of the utmost importance.
“Building on that capacity will help our business grow and expand on the value we create for the nation,” Tindall said in the release.
Jeff Zweig, Mosaic president and CEO, said the program is valuable, as working with Indigenous partners helps “develop the next generation of forest stewards, marrying the latest science and Indigenous knowledge to produce better outcomes.”
Internship applications are coordinated through VIU, said the press release, which offers support by matching applicants with positions. Deborah Saucier, university president, said her institution sees this as “a critical piece” of furthering truth and reconciliation and said VIU has paired 58 interns with high-quality internship opportunities.
“One of our core values is supporting students to have practical hands-on learning opportunities as we know how important these experiences are to their long-term success, providing a powerful step forward in their development,” Saucier said.
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