What is the overall impact of the initiative and how is this measured?
So far to date, ECO Canada has delivered over 200 BEAHR Deliveries to more than 3000+ Indigenous participants from over 170 communities across the country, with approximately 85% of students graduating, and over 70% of those student graduates finding successful employment.
What challenges have you faced and how were these overcome?
BEAHR Training has been delivered to many remote communities, where regular access to food and clean water is not as easy as urban settings. As well, most of our training programs are delivered in English, and sometimes Indigenous participants will not be fluent in English, or have strong reading and writing skills. In those situations, instructors have adapted their teaching style, delivering assignments and quizzes verbally, instead of having the student write their answers.
What are 3 key lessons you learned from developing or delivering your initiative? What advice from those lessons would you share with others?
1) Building a warm and trusting relationship with everyone involved in your training is the most important element.
2) Take the time to listen to the community, to understand what is important to them and what their goals are for the training (based off of community needs), and then work to customize the training to those needs, as each community is different
3) Take the time to listen to others, because respect grows between partners once people know they are being heard.
What have participants, stakeholders and partners thought, felt and/or said about your initiative?
After reading student feedback forms, so many students are incredibly grateful and satisfied with the program. Instructors receive thank-you emails from students, recognizing their time in the classroom, and thanking them for the lessons they have learned. Many of our student graduates have moved on to start their own environmental consulting business, go back to the community and contribute to a Land Guardian Initiative, or advance their career in a way that allows them to fulfill their passion and connection to the land. So many participants have been grateful for their connection and mentorship to Elders within their community, and appreciate the wisdom that is passed down through the training. There are so many success stories within the BEAHR Program, that last beyond the training.
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Which Essential Skills are covered by the initiative?
Working with Others
How are the Essential Skills integrated into your initiative?
Our entire program is focused around culturally relevant environmental training. Student are in both the classroom and out in the field, learning about the environment around them, how to observe, record, monitor and protect it. Students are doing data collection, report writing, working in teams, connecting through group activities and discussions, learning computer applications such as google maps, etc. All essential skills are integrated throughout the program.
How do you assess participant Essential Skills?
There are quizzes, assignments, group discussions, case studies, and field activities that are integrated numerously throughout the program, to assess participant essential skills as they develop.
What are the components of the initiative?
Occupation-specific skills training
Occupational certifications and/or licensing
Work-integrated learning (i.e., internships, co-ops, work placements, etc.)
Career and/or educational planning
Job search services
Cultural, language, and tradition awareness and/or training
How do you support participant success in the program?
After program follow-up support
How was Indigenous culture integrated into the program content or delivery?
Traditional knowledge is interwoven into the curriculum. For example, many deliveries include traditional knowledge holder or elder participation, where students get the opportunity to interview an elder, and learn about how to respectfully obtain and record traditional knowledge. Every training program is delivered through an Indigenous lens, for example, we have a Land Use Planning course, where students work with traditional land use plans, engage in community visions, and locate where traditional plants and medicines can be located around the community, etc.
What do you think are the most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative to have?
The most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative are the openness to learning, and being respectful and engaging when connecting to communities. They need to take the time to build a relationship with the community, built on trust. They need to have great listening skills, organizational skills, and ability to be flexible, as each training program will be completely different.
Who are your partners, and what is their involvement in the initiative?
Our partners range from environmental organizations (for example, Indigenous Visions), to institutions (Confederation College), to communities all across Canada. We engage with all sectors of government, industry, etc. We are have built a reputable and trusting relationship with over 170 communities across the country, and it keeps growing.