Mitten Making Workshop

The Culture, Confidence and Competence essential skills employment training curriculum is foundational to the Keepers of the Circle Indigenous Women’s Economic Development Strategy. This strategy is designed to support Indigenous women’s economic security and career advancement across industries and in the corporate sector. The curriculum is based on the premise that building cultural connection inspires confidence which leads to increased competence in the development of essential skills. It is also based on the success of the Aboriginal Women in Mining program, an eight year investment that provided training to 478 women with which provided training to over 500 Indigenous women with almost 80% of those securing meaningful employment.”

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Aside from the personal development and pre-employment training program offered by Keepers of the Circle, key aspects of the strategy include working with industry and corporate partners to:

  1. Transform economic systems through policy and practice changes that address barriers to employment, workplace advancement and entrepreneurial capacity for Indigenous women. 
  2. Develop industry-specific women’s employment plans that identify career pathways and entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly during the environmental assessment phase as it relates to major resource development projects.
  3. Design localized and diversified economic development plans for Indigenous women using data from labour market analysis, community mapping processes and focus group input from Indigenous women.
  4. Establish formalized partnerships across industries and within the corporate sector to facilitate greater intercultural understanding in the workplace and to build organizational support for diversification initiatives.

The Culture, Confidence and Competence curriculum itself is based on the New Start Life Skills Model as well as the principles of interconnection, respect and human dignity, caring for one another, safety and well–being as well as orientation to careers. It is designed to help restore what was taken away through colonization. The curriculum reflects an Indigenous worldview and incorporates Anishinaabe cultural knowledge and traditions.

Indigenous food on counter
Indigenous Employment and Training Best Practice Model

The curriculum is based on seven units of six to seven hour sessions. The content is delivered in a group setting of 10-15 Indigenous women. Facilitators of the program must be Indigenous and must understand the cultural and traditional context of the community where they are delivering the program. There must be two facilitators delivering the curriculum. Elders, local cultural teachers and other appropriate resource people are critical to the success of the curriculum.

We utilize methods developed over nearly a decade of experience working with Indigenous women and have developed our training philosophy so that it harmonizes with economic realities and with our organizational mandates. Our training program has been piloted successfully and is used to deliver successful employment training programs such as Skills Link and Aboriginal Women in Mining.

If your organization or business is interested in partnering with us in delivering effective employment training to Indigenous groups please contact us:

Arlene Hache
Program Director

Kathy Lajeunesse
Program Practitioner


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