EleV Learning Partnership Continues to Grow

EleV Learning Partnership for Indigenous Youth

The EleV learning partnership aims to boost the number of Indigenous youth accessing post-secondary education.

September 18, 2019 - 10:30am

An innovative learning partnership headquartered at VIU is starting to take root. It’s been two years since EleV, a collaboration between VIU and Indigenous communities that is supported by the Mastercard Foundation, launched. The program, which aims to boost the number of Indigenous youth accessing post-secondary education, provides scholarships; wraparound supports such as Indigenous Education Navigators, who follow students throughout their journeys to help them succeed; and career advising to support the transition to the workplace.

Mandii Hopkins, a Criminology student, says that extra support has made all the difference for her. “The program has helped me by being there every step of the way, especially Emmy [Manson, Indigenous Education Navigator],” she says. “Emmy supports me in every way possible, and I will never be able to thank her enough. She is my family when I am at school.”

Dr. Sharon Hobenshield, Director of VIU’s Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement, says the partnership continues to evolve as VIU engages with Indigenous communities and the different needs Nations face become more apparent. 

“The Mastercard Foundation was always adamant that this pilot program exists to chart a better way forward and that it should adapt and change as we go in response to the needs we are seeing,” she says. “That is what we’ve been doing, with their support.”

Since 2017, the Education Navigators have been reaching out to communities to recruit students and identify barriers. As a result of these conversations, VIU is launching a student internship program in partnership with interested Indigenous communities. 

“After the first year, we did some follow-up visits and communities were talking about the need to build internal capacity,” says Hobenshield. “The student interns help fill that need and in return, they receive valuable experiences.”

The next stage in the partnership is hiring an Indigenous Employment Navigator, who will help students with soft skill development, building resumés and networking. Nearly 80 students were funded in year two of the program, and 10 students have already graduated and moved on to the workforce. 

Hobenshield is also excited to see awareness of EleV growing, both within VIU and in-community. “That is how we are going to succeed and draw more students in – by building relationships and increasing awareness,” she says.

Tags: community | Indigenous | Reconciliation | VIU Magazine

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