Hiring Indigenous students

UVic is committed to act on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. This includes being a catalyst for reconciliation through action and conversation. The UVic Indigenous Plan describes these commitments in detail. We're dedicated to helping you diversify, decolonize and Indigenize your workplace. The work is multifaceted, complex and ever evolving.

Why hire an Indigenous student?

You can help shape the trajectory of Canada's journey to truth, respect and reconciliation by offering real-world skills development in work-integrated learning opportunities for Indigenous students.

Hiring an Indigenous student is a way for you to:

  • respond to the Truth and Reconciliation report’s Calls to Action
  • address Indigenous labour market disparity and inequity
  • build meaningful and relevant relationships with Indigenous students and graduates
  • foster ways to respect and engage responsibly with Indigenous ways of being and doing

When hiring Indigenous students, we call on you to:

  • develop culturally agile and responsive workplaces to respect and honour the diversity of all
  • ensure management and staff are trained in:
    • the history of Indigenous peoples
    • intercultural competency
    • conflict resolution
    • human rights
    • anti-racism

Resources to better support and retain Indigenous employees

Indigenous Resource Hub

ACE-WIL has developed a set of resources to support Indigenous student access, retention, and success in co-op placements.

You can find a range of resources here, including:

  • Strategies for recognizing and addressing tokenism
  • Employer self-assessment worksheet
  • Questions from Indigenous students to prospective employers
  • Self-locating and self-identifying information
  • Hiring Indigenous students: the job posting and beyond

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is your organization committed to ongoing training, education and professional development around Indigenous histories and the impacts of colonization?
  • Before you hire, do you have a clear sense of why your organization is seeking to hire Indigenous applicants?
  • How does your hiring process respect, engage with and respond to the diversity of Indigenous identities?
  • How does your hiring process recognize and value the experiences and identity that an Indigenous employee brings?
  • What work have you done as a supervisor or as an organization to decolonize your workplace culture?
  • If an Indigenous person is hired for their cultural competencies, how will they be supported in the workplace?
  • If an applicant experiences tokenization in the hiring process, what strategies does your organization have in place to address this?
  • What kind of retention plans do you have to specifically support new Indigenous hires?
  • Does your organization provide child care benefits, resources and services?
  • Does your organization offer accommodations for cultural and familial obligations?
  • Reconciliation, diversity and inclusion, and anti-racism work needs to be championed by non-Indigenous leadership in an organization. Who is your workplace's non-Indigenous leader who leads this work?

Thank you to the Native Student Union at UVic, as well as staff members with UVic's Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement for putting these questions together.

Get involved

There are many ways for you to support and work with Indigenous students at UVic.

  • Hire a co-op student: you can hire a student through UVic’s Co-op program.
  • Post jobs to the Co-op and Career Portal: we can help you post job opportunities to the UVic Co-op and Career Portal, which can be accessed by all UVic students and alumni.
  • Share opportunities on the Indigenous Co-op and Career mailing list: If you list an opportunity that includes a preferential or limited hire for Indigenous applicants, contact the Indigenous co-op coordinator at . Make sure to include the job identification number in your email. We may be able to share information about your posting with the Indigenous Co-op and Career mailing list.
  • Host an intern through the LE,NOṈET community internships program: Through this internship program, you can mentor an Indigenous student who is developing a culturally relevant and meaningful community-based practice. Students will complete 120 hours of volunteer work experience with an Indigenous community or organization of their choice. They will receive course credit for their work and have access to a LE,NOṈET $1,500 stipend. If you're interested in hosting a LE,NOṈET student, please contact lenonetelc@uvic.ca.

Funding opportunities

There are many funding opportunities that you can access. This funding is available to employers who hire post-secondary students (including co-op students), as well as UVic graduates.

Indigenous Co-operative Education Wage Subsidy

UVic's Strategic Framework Experiential Learning Fund supports Indigenous community organizations to hire Indigenous students. This fund subsidizes 10 Indigenous UVic co-op students per year. The students must undertake co-op work terms in Indigenous community organizations anywhere in Canada.

This fund allows co-op students, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, to engage in rich and meaningful experiential learning opportunities. It also provides financial assistance to employers who may not be able to offer competitive salaries.

As an employer, you can apply for funds for co-sponsorship for one co-op work term. This funding will not cover the full cost of hiring a student. You are responsible for additional costs in excess of the maximum funding subsidy allowance of $5,000.

Review the application form and submit it to .

The deadlines for the application form are:

  • November 1 for January-April work term
  • March 1 for May-August work term
  • July 1 for September-December work term


Indigenous Career Fair

UVic hosts an Indigenous Career Fair twice per year (fall and spring). This event connects employers with Indigenous students, recent graduates and community members. It’s an opportunity to promote the good work you do and to recruit interns, co-op students and career hopefuls.

Every event welcomes up to 18 employers in the Ceremonial Hall at the First Peoples House. Registration includes an employer booth, catered lunch and refreshments. This event books quickly and is curated to best reflect student and employer needs.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact . Registration fees will apply. Prices range from $50 for community exhibitors to $250 for corporate and government exhibitors.

Indigenous mock interview clinics

We usually hold a mock interview clinic for Indigenous students on the same days as the Indigenous Career Fair. Employers and students register for this event.

The Indigenous mock interview clinic provides 10 employers with a chance to conduct mock interviews with Indigenous students. This event helps students develop employability skills and is a great way for employers to build relationships.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact .