BCIT creating pathways for Indigenous youth learners through local partnerships

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) and Capilano University to formalize a partnership that will create opportunities for Indigenous youth learners. 

The partners gathered earlier this month at the Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, B.C., to recognize the training and experience of the SLCC Indigenous Youth Ambassador program graduates and to establish pathways for advanced learning. 

The Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Centre shares the traditional cultures of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and Lil̓wat7úl (Líl̓wat Nation) and invests in employment, training and cultural revitalization programs for the two Nations. 

SLCC’s 14-week Indigenous Youth Ambassador program provides youth with an immersive cultural experience and skill development in a number of industries including tourism, communications and business. Since opening in 2008, more than 600 youth have participated in SLCC’s Indigenous Youth Ambassador program. 

The MoU will formalize opportunities for Indigenous Youth Ambassador program graduates to obtain credit toward applicable programs at BCIT and Capilano University. 


Justin William, Associate Vice President, Academic, BCIT 

“BCIT is proud to partner with the Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Centre and Capilano University, creating formal pathways for Indigenous Youth Ambassadors to explore credit for prior learning and cultural knowledge. We are committed to empowering diverse journeys to post-secondary education. This initiative exemplifies the BCIT commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and the BCIT Indigenous Vision.” 

Cheximiya Allison Burns Joseph, Indigenous Youth Ambassador Manager, SLCC 

“The agreement is historical, and the first formal agreement for our Indigenous Youth Ambassador Program (IYA Program) for graduates to gain accreditation for the hard work and dedication they provide when taking on the role of Youth Ambassadors during the 14-week program. This recognizes their training certificates, their on-the-job work experience and their connection to knowledge keepers along their learning journey with us at the SLCC. Many graduates have continued their education following the completion of the program and this will ensure proper recognition for their efforts and hard work.  

My hands are up in gratitude for all involved making this a possibility for our youth. Our goal is to remove barriers and increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners. Granting transferable course credits, alongside opening our new campus in Squamish, will support that journey.” 

Aurelea Mahood, Vice-Provost, Associate Vice-President, Academic, Capilano University 

“The agreement is an important step in supporting Indigenous ways of knowing and learning. We are delighted to recognize SLCC’s intergenerational transfer of cultural knowledge and skills through their mentorship program and to provide course credits toward continued learning.” 

About BCIT 

For nearly 60 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges. As one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes with five campuses, 300+ programs, and over 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT connects education, industry, and government in building an agile workforce. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry, and delivered by faculty who have hands-on experience in their fields. Students gain the technical skills and real-world experience needed to lead innovation in their workplaces and communities. 

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