A young First Nations woman is standing with her arms crossed, smiling while standing in the welding bay. She is wearing a welding shield on top of her head and there is a blurred out person welding with sparks flying in the background.

New First Nations youth mentorship program focuses on technical careers


BRANTFORD, ON (April 8, 2021) – Today the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) launched its new mentorship program connecting Indigenous youth with mentors in a technical career to help First Nations in Ontario achieve technical self-reliance. This new feature is a continuation of the work that the OFNTSC has been doing since 2003 through its Technical Youth Career Outreach Project (TYCOP).

The mentorship program, which is open to First Nations youth from grades 7 – 12 in Ontario, will address the gap that many Indigenous youth face when it comes to obtaining post-secondary education by connecting them with mentors with shared life experiences who can guide them through any educational challenges they may encounter.

The OFNTSC hopes to address the current lack of in-house technical staff that many First Nations face. Solving this challenge requires capacity development within First Nations communities by encouraging youth to pursue careers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) and work in their home communities.

Mentors for the program have been carefully chosen and selected based on their level of expertise and experience as a First Nations professional, and include a diverse range of individuals who are supportive of the OFNTSC’s mission.

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation acknowledges and thanks Indigenous Services Canada for their continued support of this program.

To learn more or to sign up for the program as either a mentee or a mentor, please email tycop@ofntsc.org, or visit www.firstnationcareers.com.

“Our focus for launch of this new mentorship program is on promoting careers for youth in the areas of water/wastewater, solid waste, environment, trades, housing, architecture, engineering and any other technical area that First Nations need. We’re excited to be able to offer this incredible opportunity and hope to see an impact through increased rates of First Nations youth pursuing technical careers in the coming years.”

- Melanie Debassige, Executive Direct of the OFNTSC
“Congratulations to the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) on launching their new mentorship program. This program will help Indigenous youth as they pursue a technical-focused post-secondary education by connecting them with mentors who can share their life experiences. Promoting technical careers, including in the area of water/wastewater and housing, for youth can help First Nations improve capacity from within their own communities.”

Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

About TYCOP:
The Technical Youth Career Outreach Project (TYCOP) empowers and encourages Ontario First Nations youth to study and pursue careers in science and technology by illustrating personal, professional, community and global benefits of education attainment. TYCOP is an initiative of the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC).

For more information: Chelsey Johnson at cjohnson@ofntsc.org or 416-709-8738