Enhanced support for Indigenous students in BC’s tech sector
Vancouver, BC – Mitacs is thrilled to announce enhanced support for Indigenous students in B.C.’s tech sector through the Innovator Skills Initiative, including those who live outside of urban centres. The Innovator Skills Initiative, part of the Province of B.C.’s StrongerBC Plan, helps underrepresented people secure their first job in B.C.’s innovation sector, while helping businesses with the cost of new hires.
In 2021, the Government of B.C. made a $15-million investment to launch the Innovator Skills Initiative through Innovate BC. To continue the success of the initiative, the Province recently announced additional funding, which will expand the program offering, in partnership with Innovate BC and New Ventures BC.
A portion of this new funding will support Mitacs’s work to better recruit and provide enhanced support for Indigenous interns throughout B.C. Expanding the initiative reflects the Province’s commitment to increase the number of Indigenous post-secondary students employed in the B.C. tech sector after graduation.
Leveraging federal and industry funding, a standard Mitacs internship provides a stipend of $10,000 - $15,000 to the student. As a part of this expanded partnership, the $5,000 the Province contributes for each internship may increase to as much as $15,000 per eligible intern, in order to support both the stipend and also travel and accommodation expenses for Indigenous post-secondary students. This additional provincial contribution means eligible Indigenous interns may now receive up to $25,000 for a four-month internship.
The total funding includes support for businesses to better recruit qualified Indigenous candidates by covering travel and accommodation expenses during their placements. Reducing travel barriers to or from remote communities for Indigenous students make finding work in the BC tech sector more accessible.
This important opportunity is available to Indigenous post-secondary students interested in taking on a tech role at any B.C. company or either a tech role or a non-tech role at a B.C. tech company. Participants must self-declare that they are Indigenous and a current resident of British Columbia in order to be eligible.
For more information, including how to apply, visit: Mitacs Advisors | Mitacs
Mitacs is committed to making innovation accessible. To learn more about our Inclusive Innovation Action Plan, please visit: Mitacs | IIAP.
John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs
“Mitacs recognizes the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation to solve Canada’s most pressing challenges. This partnership with Innovate BC and New Ventures BC will allow us to put our commitment to making innovation accessible into practice and to better support BC’s tremendous Indigenous talent.”
Brenda Bailey, BC Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
“As B.C. continues to be a North American leader in tech, one of the industry’s greatest needs is finding skilled workers. By expanding the successful Innovator Skills Initiative, we are providing even more support to help Indigenous students enter B.C.’s fastest-growing sector, while developing the skills they need. We look forward to continuing to help more businesses access a diverse workforce and supporting an innovative and inclusive economy.”
Tomica Divic, Interim President and CEO, Innovate BC
“As one of North America’s most impactful and high-potential innovation ecosystems, it’s critical that we can continue to attract and develop new talent to our companies. By creating more pathways to careers in tech and encouraging more Indigenous youth and under-represented communities to take part, we are not only securing the vitality of our ecosystem but strengthening it by adding more voices, more backgrounds, and more perspective to its identity.”