YFNCT in partnership with WTAY are piloting a training and employment program with the purpose of having more First Nation content and people involved in the wilderness tourism industry. First Nation people in the industry bring a wealth of knowledge and stories from their traditional lands and territories. These experiences are becoming more highly sought after by the primary types of tourists who visit the Yukon territory. Unfortunately, the number of First Nation people working on the front lines with these guests is very limited in number. The goal of the training and employment program is to open the doors for young First Nation people to enter the industry by removing some of the barriers of the training costs and experience needed to gain a meaningful role in wilderness tourism companies.
Applicants can apply at www.tinyurl.com/yfnwildguide. Selection will be based on level of interest, previous experience, and ability to participate in the entirety of the program. A referral is required who is not a family member. Teachers, Elders, mentor or employer are recommended referrals. Participation in the employment portion of the training is encouraged but not required.
This training program is centered around respecting and learning about First Nation cultural protocols. We are working closely with a group of knowledge keepers and Elders to ensure that once the training is over, the participants will have a base of knowledge and understanding around to help teach guests, visitors and the companies they work for how to move through the traditional territories of Yukon with respect. Cultural interpretive skills will be covered and nightly campfire sessions will bring the participants together with our cultural facilitators for further learning and connection with their heritage.
The training will consist of many certifications that are basic to participating in hosting wilderness based guests including WFA (40 hour), Food Safe, First Host (customer service), risk management, leave no trace, Bear Aware and paddling and river safety. The training will take place over approximately 4 weeks starting in early May. Participants will be based out of a camp setting for the duration of the training, to gain experience making and breaking camp, cooking for the others and taking part in the campfire evening sessions.
At the conclusion of the training, the participating employers will choose to hire the participants given that they have enthusiastically participated in the training and showed individual merits that will be valuable to the employers. The participants are not guaranteed employment, as they must be able to perform their employment duties based on merit. A wage subsidy is offered as an incentive to the employers based on the Youth Employment Center model.
WTAY has secured at least 4 and maybe 5 employers who are willing to participate in developing the training curriculum and are willing to offer paid internship to the participants of the program.
Following the program’s conclusion at the end of Summer 2018, YFNCT will follow up with a survey to assess the success of the program including whether the employers and participants intend to continue pursuing the goals of this project and how our organization can help support those goals.
In the future we hope to see more First Nation people pursuing jobs in the tourism industry able to welcome guests to their territory.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 14TH AT 5PM.