Co-op and career support for Indigenous students

Nicole Mandryk
Nicole Mandryk (psychology and Indigenous studies) was hired to engage with local Aboriginal communities through summer programs offered at Mary’s Farm and Sanctuary, including nature-based counselling, equine-facilitated wellness workshops, drumming events and youth camps.

UVic's co-op program offers many exciting opportunities for Indigenous students to connect with employers and gain culturally relevant work experience. Learn more about co-op or find answers to common questions below. You can also learn about career support for Indigenous students.

Connect with the Indigenous co-op coordinator

David Busch

David Busch is the Indigenous co-op and career coordinator and can help you:

  • help you find culturally relevant co-op opportunities—projects or services that impact or partner with Indigenous communities
  • connect you with Indigenous organizations and First Nations communities who hire students
  • find career resources
“My name is David Busch. I am Nisga’a and Gitxsan as well as Scottish and German. I belong to the Eagle clan of the Nisga’a Nation. I was born and raised in Ladysmith B.C. My partner and I have two young daughters, the older one is  3 (almost 4) and newest is 11 months old. I don’t have a ton of spare time these days but when I do I love spending it with friends and family, playing/watching sports, and getting out on the land. I am really excited for the opportunity as the new Indigenous Co-op Coordinator and I look forward to getting to know you as we work together in the near future.”  

You can reach David at or 250-721-6378.

Explore career development support and programs

We encourage you to take part in the programs and opportunities that support Indigenous students.

Indigenous International Work-Integration Learning (WIL) Exchange Program

If you're an Indigenous co-op student, you may be able to travel to Australia to take part in a unique Indigenous co-op exchange (as part of our unique Indigenous International Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Exchange Program). You'll complete a work term that connects you to Indigenous people and communities in Australia, while Indigenous students will travel to Victoria to take part in UVic's LE,NONET program and complete a community internship. Partner institutions include:

Hear from students who have taken part:

Career Fair and Mock Interview Clinic for Indigenous Students

Curious about career options? Want to practice your interview skills? Attend the Career Fair and Mock Interview Clinic for Indigenous Students to:

  • learn about career and co-op opportunities available to Indigenous students
  • network with company representatives and ask questions

This event is held in the fall and spring.

Why take part in the event?

LE,NONET Program

LE,NONET (pronounced "le-nong-it") is a SENĆOŦEN word that literally means "paddling a canoe in a storm and making it through to the other side". In a more figurative sense, LE,NONET can also be taken to mean "success after enduring many hardships."

The LE,NONET Community Internship (IS 321) is 120 hours of work experience carried out in an Indigenous community or organization of the student's choice. Students must complete the IS 310 Preparation Seminar pre-requisite with a B+ (77%) or higher in order to register for this.

Students resources through the Indigenous Resource Hub

A series of resources for Indigenous students and employers hiring Indigenous students has been developed as part of the ACE-WIL Indigenous Resource Hub.

You can find resources to help you:

  • Navigate the process of self-locating and self-identifying
  • Determine what questions might be useful to ask employers
  • Interpret job postings and assess empoyers
  • Create tailored résumés and cover letters

CanWork Program

The CanWork program supports undergraduate students who identify as having a disability or mental health challenge to gain paid work experience. The program is open to students in these co-op programs:

  • Computer Science
  • Exercise, Physical and Health Education
  • Health Information Science
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Science
  • Social Sciences

Sign up for regular updates

We send out a regular e-newsletter with information about co-op, events, professional development opportunities and more.

Access funding opportunities for Indigenous students and organizations

At UVic, hands-on experiential learning is an essential part of the student experience. To support students as they pursue community-based learning opportunities, the university provides a range of funding opportunities for students and employers both in Canada and abroad. The following funding opportunities are available to Indigenous students and Indigenous organizations through UVic's Strategic Framework Experiential Learning Fund (SF-ELF):

Indigenous Co-operative Education Wage Subsidy Program

Who can apply

Through this funding, Indigenous community organizations may be eligible for a wage subsidy to cover a portion of cost of hiring a co-op student for a co-op work term (up to a maxiumum $5,000).

Half of the funding will be provided to the employer at the end of the first month of the work term. The rest of the funding will be provided after the employer has completed the final competency assessment.

If you know an Indigenous community organization that may be interested in applying for the funding to hire you for a co-op work term, connect with your co-op coordinator to discuss.

How to apply

  • Indigenous community organizations must work with their UVic co-op coordinator to review the guidelines and discuss eligibility (outlined on the application form)
  • If eligible, Indigenous community organizations must complete complete the application form together with their co-op coordinator
  • The co-op coordinator will submit the application for consideration

When to apply

The application deadline varies for each term.

  • January - April work terms: 4:30 p.m. on November 1
  • May - August work terms: 4:30 p.m. on March 1
  • September - December work terms: 4:30 p.m. on July 1

Co-operative Education Travel Awards for the Indigenous International Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Exchange Program

Who qualifies?

Students who are selected to participate in the Indigenous International Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Exchange Program may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in travel funding support.

How to apply

No separate funding application is required—we’ll contact you if you're selected for this award after securing an international work term through this exchange program.

Frequently asked questions

Can co-op work with band funding?

Each band has different funding policies, so please ask your band to see how funding can work with your co-op degree or contact our  for help.

Are there culturally relevant co-op positions?

Co-op offers many culturally relevant work opportunities that will help you gain experience and build your technical, professional and community-based skills. Our employers include large companies, government ministries, organizations that impact Indigenous communities, and community-based groups, such as community organizations and tribal councils. You can also apply to any other co-op jobs you're interested in.

You can also work with our  to develop a customized position in your own community or with a particular employer you're interested in.

I'm a part-time student. Can I join co-op?

We offer a part-time parallel program for part-time students, so you can gain relevant work experience without disrupting your school/life balance. Contact your co-op program for more information.

Will co-op work if I have a family and dependents?

Many students balance their academic degrees with family responsibilities. Co-op supports you in many ways: