Expanding education and job opportunities for Indigenous youth


Labour, Skills and Access to Talent

February 2022 to March 2023
Fund I: Complete

Consortia Contribution

Cluster Contribution


Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies

Whitecap Dakota First Nation


Develop, deliver and ultimately support an initiative to increase the employment of successful Indigenous youth candidates wishing to work in the food processing sector.

Project Summary

This project brought together Indigenous leaders, technical training institutes, governments and industry to create agrifood processing micro-credentials for Indigenous, and potentially non-Indigenous, youth in Western Canada. Ultimately, it will allow those youth to become engaged, successful and meaningful employees and contributors to agrifood processing businesses and form a potential long-term source of sustainable benefits to Indigenous communities (e.g., education, employment, community engagement, agricultural business development, health, etc.).

The project focused on primary skill development for successful candidates and created opportunities for interactions between food processing businesses leaders, Indigenous Elders, Chiefs and Council and other Indigenous Youth.

It also included elements and opportunities for training business leaders and the food processing community in general regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“the TRC”) findings and recommendations.

Results and Impact

  • Participation in this project has provided several business opportunities for plant-based food processors in Saskatchewan, such as gaining access to a pool of skilled and trained Indigenous workers, improving inclusivity and understanding Indigenous perspectives and needs, and potentially creating commercial opportunities in terms of increasing their respective productivity.
  • Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) is the first organization in Saskatchewan to offer a pre-employment program for plant-based food processors that includes micro-credentials, and thus regular delivery of this program will fulfill the labour shortage faced by various organizations in this sector.
  • Whitecap Dakota had six students participate in the first cohort, with nine students total participating in the cohort. Being a partner in this project allowed them to provide real-time feedback to the SIIT team on the barriers students face and convey the concerns to the industry partners and negotiate arrangements for their practicum placements.
  • The students in the first cohort gained valuable skills in the areas of agri-food processing, math and basic life skills, with a third hired in the industry as of March 2023.
  • View the Agri-Food Processing Micro Credential Program: https://siit.ca/programs/agri-...