Indspire CEO says it’s time for Canadians to invest in the education of Indigenous youths.
Roberta Jamieson wants to make changes, and is more optimistic than ever that they’re on the right track. Continue reading “The key is education for Indigenous youths”
By Benita Aalto
Many Indigenous students today are the first in their family to get a post-secondary education, and many go on to work in sectors and careers which lack strong Indigenous representation. Plus, many students experience uncertainty about such major life changes.
That’s where a mentor can be helpful.
A mentor is someone who can help a new graduate with career planning by offering their experience, insights and knowledge of the working world.
A mentor can be found informally – like talking to an older friend of the family who has a career that interests you – or through a structured program offered by a college or university guidance department, or a professional or trade organization.
However you find a mentor, here are three tips to help make the partnership work for you:
Decide what you want to learn from your mentor
Do you want to learn how to write a great resume, or ace a job interview? Do you want to make more contacts in a certain field or industry? Write a list of what you want and try to make it specific. Your goals may change over time but start with clear objectives.
Have regular check-in meetings
Meetings with your mentor can be over the phone, online, by Skype, or face-to-face. It’s a good idea to schedule a regular check-in session with your mentor, perhaps monthly. Come prepared with questions and be ready to report on your progress.
Work respectfully with your mentor
It is important to be respectful of your mentor’s time: if you can’t make a meeting or are going to be late, let your mentor know and offer them the option of rescheduling for another day. Also, be sure to follow up with their suggestions. For example, if your mentor gives you the email address of someone who might be helpful to you, send that person a note to introduce yourself and cc your mentor.
Indigenous post-secondary students and grads can benefit from a mentorship program that takes into account the different social and cultural challenges they face. Indspire offers the Rivers to Success: mentoring Indigenous Youth program to connect Indigenous students to mentors in a variety of fields. The registration deadline is Oct.1, and you can learn more at indspire.ca/rivers.
Teachers need mentors, too!
In an information-saturated world, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. It’s great to have an Internet’s worth of resources at your fingertips, but don’t pass up the chance to get face-time and support from a peer.
Indspire offers new teachers the chance to learn from experienced educators through its Peer Support: Educator Coaching program. Go to indspire.ca/peer-support for details.
Educators can also share best practices and network at the National Gathering for Indigenous Education this November 20 to 22 in Toronto. Learn more and register at indspire.ca/national-gathering.