Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Donates $40,000 to VIU's Aboriginal Construction Program

December 12, 2011 - 6:06am

From the VIU Foundation:

As part of RBC’s commitment to building relationships and creating opportunities for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, Moira Jenkins and Mark Lovick of RBC, were on hand at the recent Christmas celebration at Shq’apthut, VIU’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, to announce a donation of $40,000 in support of the university’s Aboriginal Construction Program.

“We recognize training and education help lay the groundwork for future success of Aboriginal youth in Canada,” said Moira Jenkins, Vice-President Commercial Financial Services. “That’s why we are so excited to support the Aboriginal Construction Program at VIU.” Her colleague, Mark Lovick, Regional Vice-President, felt this particular program deserved support because it enables Aboriginal youth to learn a valuable trade while helping their communities. “It’s wonderful to see the pride of the youth as they grow,” said Lovick. “Their future is bright, and we at RBC are proud to help them on their path to success.”

During the celebration, VIU’s Dean of Trades & Applied Technology, Fred MacDonald, asked the crowd to look up at the giant beams supporting Shq’apthut’s roof. “This building was constructed with the help of students in the Aboriginal Construction program,” said MacDonald. “Not only is it one of the greenest buildings on campus but it’s also the most traditional.” It’s that combination of modern technology and traditional values that Sharon Hobenshield, Director of Aboriginal Education at VIU, says make programs such as this so important. “To authentically deliver Aboriginal programs that will make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people, we have to resource them differently to honor both western and Indigenous teachings. This can only happen if we work collectively and in partnership as we are doing here with RBC.”

VIU’s Aboriginal Construction Program combines Aboriginal cultural components with Industry Training Authority Level 1 Carpentry. Developed in consultation with coastal Aboriginal communities, the program is designed for Aboriginal learners. Components include recognition of cultural issues regarding education and traditional construction, as well as skills development in areas such as mathematics and communications.

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