Indigenous people

Explore your options and build your career using the websites and services on this page:

  • Pursue post-secondary education.
  • Get funding for your education.
  • Gain work experience and job skills.
  • Create or expand your own business.
Use BC's Career Guide for Indigenous People (PDF) to support your career planning journey, all the way from exploration to success on the job. The Guide offers information on career exploration, skills training, education and funding support, and how to connect to employers. 

Order hardcopies of the guide with free shipping throughout B.C. 
Find your career direction, identify pathways to your goals and develop the skills and education you’ll need!

Explore A Guide to Indigenous Organizations and Services for a list of many Indigenous community-based services and organizations that can work with you on education, employment, business development and other goals. 

In addition to the tabs below, you can also visit our Youth page for additional tools and resources.

Career Exploration

Discover the world of careers in B.C., and learn about the pathways you can take to reach your goals.

Education / Skills

Education opens doors to build your career and your community. Use the resources offered by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to:

  • Discover programs and services for Indigenous learners.
  • Get financial aid to support your studies.
  • Find out about student services and campus Indigenous gathering places.

Plan your post-secondary journey with Aboriginal Learning Links. You’ll find resources for choosing and paying for your post-secondary education, as well as information on on-campus services, child care and housing.

  • Blueprint Builder – Build your own Blueprint and access B.C. resources to choose a career, access education and funding and find a job.
  • EducationPlannerBC – Search for post-secondary education programs by interest, subject, type of credential or institution.
  • Indigenous People in Trades – Find out about programs and training for Indigenous people in skilled trades and apprenticeships.
  • Education and Training for Indigenous People – Explore a range of Government of Canada training and financial assistance programs for Indigenous people.
  • Upgrading – Planning to upgrade or finish high school level courses to prepare for post-secondary training or education? Find a post-secondary institution or school near you that offers adult upgrading courses.

For a complete list of programs, review the British Columbia Indigenous Skills Training Programs Inventory (PDF). It lists all of B.C.’s skills training programs from provincial and federal governments and industry.

Need funding for your post-secondary studies?

Living the post-secondary life

Are you starting your post-secondary journey?
  • Changing location.
  • Living on your own.
  • Facing new academic challenges.
  • Juggling school and work demands.
  • Managing your money.
The guide From Surviving to Thriving: Developing Personal and Academic Resilience (PDF) gives you resources, checklists, worksheets, a coping strategies planner, and a choice of four strategies for managing stressful situations. 
From Surviving to Thriving can help you prepare for challenges and pressures that may arise. The guide will help you identify your personal strengths and develop strategies to manage stress, address challenges and reduce worry and fear. Know when and where to ask for help, including at your school’s Indigenous student centre, support services or gathering place. Build a network of people for mutual support.

Indigenous Skills and Employment Training

Do you need more education or training to get the job you want? The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program helps Indigenous people build their skills and find employment.
In B.C., 23 organizations provide ISET programs and services. They offer skills development, job training and financial aid. Training can cover essential skills you need on the job—reading, writing and math, or it can involve more advanced training for jobs that are in demand.

Types of programs ISET funding covers:

  • GED or upgrading programs
  • Vocational or safety ticket training
  • Trade training courses, e.g., construction, plumbing, electrician, welding
  • Certificate programs
  • Diploma programs
  • Partial and/or collaborative financial support for degree programs
  • Partial and/or collaborative financial support for masters or doctorate
ISET funding also covers:
  • Wage subsidy to a specific employer to help you get a job in your chosen field if you are already qualified
  • Apprenticeships
  • Summer students
  • Self-employment (at some locations)
ISETs may also be able to help you with the things you need during your training, like financial help for:
  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Fees
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Living supports
Who do ISETs serve?
  • ISET holders serve any on-reserve, off-reserve urban, status and non-status Indigenous students including Métis and Inuit members living in their service area.
  • Tribal Councils’ ISET programs usually need you to be living on Tribal Council lands and may require a First Nations Status ID card.
  • To access the Métis ISET program, you generally need to be a member of the Métis Association for your province. In B.C., that is the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC).

Find a Job

WorkBC Employment Services provide support for people looking for jobs. You may be able to take part in WorkBC Employment Services and programs from Indigenous organizations at the same time if the services don’t overlap. Call or visit your local WorkBC Centre. Use our interactive map to find a WorkBC Centre in your area.

Use WorkBC Job Search to search thousands of job postings throughout B.C. by industry, salary, region and more.

Check out programs that are available to expand your work experience and skills:

  • Indigenous Youth Internship Program – Build your professional and leadership skills while you experience a career in government.
  • Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program (ISET) – Learn about work experience, skills training and access to high-demand jobs. Find a service provider in B.C.
  • Skills Training for Employment – Young Adults General – Check out a program that offers skills training and employment support. Overcome barriers to employment through, for example, counselling, mentoring, child care, transportation, disability supports, work experience, wage subsidies and equipment.
  • Skills Training for Employment – Young Adults at Risk – Are you a current or former youth in care or someone with a barrier to employment—unstable housing, incomplete high school, recovering from addiction, mental health challenges or prior criminal justice involvement? Find out if this program can help you become employment ready through skills training and support.
  • Skills Training for Employment – Survivors of Violence and/or Abuse – If you’ve fled a situation of violence and/or abuse and face barriers to employment, learn about this program for those who are unemployed or have insecure employment. The program provides skills training as well as employment support that can include counselling, mentoring, child care, transportation, disability supports, work experience, wage subsidies and equipment.
  • BladeRunners Program – Discover this program that helps unemployed, at-risk youth prepare for and find employment.
  • Training for Indigenous Peoples – Find Government of Canada programs for gaining experience through internship, summer employment and other work/training opportunities.
  • Find Jobs – Learn skills that will help you draw attention in the job market: write a resume that stands out; ace your interviews; boost your networking skills; and tap social media in your job search.

Start a Business

Are you interested in starting or running a business? Grow your business skills with the programs and services featured in British Columbia’s Indigenous Small Business Resources guide (PDF).
The guide presents resources to support you through all aspects of business start-up and growth. You’ll find a quick reference guide for an overview of the start-up process, from initial planning to marketing your business.
Use the guide’s visual key to find the resources you need, whether advisory services, skills training, financing and loans, or mentorship support. Most of the organizations listed provide a range of services.

Success Stories

Check out the successes of Indigenous people in employment and business.

  • Janitor: Grant – Learn how Grant found a rewarding career through an Indigenous employment program, and see how the program helped him find success.
  • Law student: Leah – Learn why Leah moved from being the first woman Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation to joining the legal profession.
  • Theatre designer: Vanessa – Read how Vanessa’s flair for costume design led her to explore the production side of show business.
  • Educator: Rupert – Read about Rupert’s time at UBC as he describes the challenges, laughs, tears and successes of his path in the field of education.
  • Fashion Designer: Andrea – Check out the award-winning business of a B.C.-trained designer of wedding and grad dresses.
  • Everyone Belongs in Tech: Harley – Learn how a childhood love for cartoons helped Harley turn a passion into a thriving tech career.
  • B.C. Indigenous Business Awards – Discover Indigenous business talent in B.C. through a variety of video stories.
  • BladeRunner Success Stories – Learn how BladeRunner has helped Indigenous youth jumpstart their careers.

Career Journeys First Nations Career Role Models Videos

We thank the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) for allowing us to share these videos.