As Project Manager with the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies here at CBU, I must say that I have felt particularly inspired over the last few months. Through the work of the Business Network for Aboriginal Youth, I believe positive change in starting to happen!
It is no secret that there have been very few Aboriginal people who choose to study business at the university level. It was also thought by many that Aboriginal youth are just not interested in business as a possible career option. Even though this program is only in its early stages, we are learning that this is definitely not the case. Of the over 200 who applied for the program, the 30 students who were chosen are proving that, if given the opportunity, they are very eager to learn about business. Since our first youth conference students have been interacting with each other and their mentors on a daily basis via BBM, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, WordPress Blogging, and email. They have been working on biweekly challenges that focus on a variety of business disciplines. Many of these students do not have the option to take business courses at the high schools they attend. As a result, much of what they are learning in our program is new knowledge. Perhaps one of the reasons so few are choosing business is because so few, in the past, have had to opportunity to learn about business in high school.
I guess my main point here is that, if given the opportunity, you never know what youth are capable of! The next youth conference is slated for June 1st and 2nd in Millbrook First Nation, with “smart marketing’ being the theme for this 2 day event. Stay tuned for future updates on this innovative project!