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.

Meet the Indigenous coordinator

Renée Livernoche
My name is Renée Livernoche and I am the LE,NONET Experiential and Community Learning Coordinator at the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement. I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself as I’m looking forward to meeting you! I am French Canadian with roots to the Innu Nation of Northern Québec, privileged to be born and raised here in the Lkwungen and WSÁNEĆ Territories. I’ve had opportunity to meet some of you here in the hallway or at some of our functions at the First Peoples House and I am eager to keep building relationships.

I completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double minor in Indigenous Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Victoria in 2007, and a Master of Arts in 2009 with a specialization in Applied Theatre, also at the University of Victoria. I was an interdisciplinary student and completed coursework in education, social work, psychology, environmental studies and sociology. Since my graduation, I found employment in education and training, job coaching and social services. I have a strong belief that each individual has the ability to have a profound impact on the world they live in and I am dedicated to working collaboratively with others in order to learn, share and build healthy, open communities. I look forward to helping Indigenous students shine as you discover your future goals and career plans! Stop by and say hello! I’ll be privileged to hear your story.

As the LE,NONET Experiential and Community Learning Coordinator, I can help you:
  • find relevant work in your field of study
  • connect students with Indigenous organizations and First Nations communities who hire students
  • help students find culturally relevant co-op opportunities—projects or services that impact or partner with Indigenous communities
  • learn more about the LE,NONET program
  • find career resources

You can reach me at or 250-721-6326, or in room 154 of the First Peoples House.

How can we support you?

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 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.

LYNX Career Program

The LYNX Career Program through the University of Calgary provides an opportunity for Indigenous students and recent graduates from various universities in Western Canada to connect directly with potential employers.

Potential employers seeking to hire Indigenous students use the program to post available employment positions, view student profiles and share information about their organizations. 

Through the program website, you can upload résumés and learn about opportunities for internships, co-ops, summer and full-time employment.

New graduates - Indigenous Intern Leadership Program

The Indigenous Intern Leadership Program connects qualifying recent Indigenous Graduates from all BC post-secondary institutions with BC employers for two-year work opportunities. 

The internship provides workplace skills and training with the goal to strength and increase capacity within Indigenous communities. economic reconciliation, community development, cultural preservation, and respect.

This initiative has been made possible by the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and the Business Council of B.C. through their joint Champions Table, along with the support of Vancouver Island University and the Government of British Columbia.

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.

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 per term.

  • January - April work terms: 4:30 p.m. on December 1
  • May - August work terms: 4:30 p.m. on March 1
  • September - December work terms: 4:30 p.m. on August 31, 2019

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.

Learn about UVic's Indigenous co-op exchange

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  coordinator 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  coordinator 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:

Learn about UVic's Indigenous mock interview clinics