On November 18-20, 2021, NPAAMB and Edge Factor hosted a hugely successful, 3-day skilled trades event for Indigenous Youth called Opportunity Knocks: Fanning the Fire Within. The goal of this event was to empower Indigenous Youth and students to be inspired, complete hands-on activities, and discover skilled trades industries, careers, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, and training programs! Indigenous Elders, Industry, and Education leaders shared insights with students in live Zoom sessions and with pre-recorded media. This event included a virtual pre-event experience as well, with high impact Edge Factor career exploration media that equipped students to go on virtual field trips, explore skilled trades industries and careers, learn about transferable soft skills, and check out Profiles on local Schools and Companies.
Fanning the Fire Within
Opportunity Knocks: Fanning the Fire Within provided Indigenous Youth with opportunities to discover Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs (OYAP) and explore careers in skilled trades. Students, parents, and community members were able to dig deeper and learn more about local organizations, companies and schools that support and provide careers and training opportunities to Indigenous community members. Platinum Sponsors: Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), International Experience Canada (IEC), RBC also hosted live or pre-recorded sessions to inspire and support Indigenous youth on their career journey.
One of the unique components of this event included the opportunity for attendees to create baby moccasins with the Nokomis Makings 215+ Moccasin Project, in a three part session to commemorate the Indigenous children who didn’t make it home from Canada’s Residential Schools. ”With this project I want to create dialogue and education around Canada’s Residential Schools as this is still very much a part of our present history as well as provide healing for our communities,” said Shannon Cotter, Nokomis Moccasins’ Project Coordinator.
Over the course of this 3-day event, there were many back to back live Zoom sessions and pre-recorded videos. This virtual event included the following:
- Opening Ceremony with Indigenous Elders, Grandmothers and NPAAMB
- Service Industry Panel Discussion with NPAAMB and leaders from Brantford Flight Centre, Parks Canada, Great Wolf Lodge, Kayanase, and the Waterloo Region District School Board
- Nokomis Moccasins: A hands-on activity with 3 live sessions for Indigenous Youth to create baby moccasins
- Presentation by Skills Ontario and hands-on Meccano activity
- Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion with NPAAMB and leaders from Cooking with Wolfman, Futurepreneur, Immersive Link/ ORIGIN, Mulberry Designs, and the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
- Inuit Culture Presentation “IAMINUK" featuring Brock University and a hands-on bookmark activity
- Sunrise Ceremony with Indigenous Elder Tom Porter and NPAAMB
- Medicine Walk at the Longhouse Ganǫsa’ǫ:weh
- Words of Wisdom with Indigenous Elder and Grandmother Renee
- OYAP Keynote Presentation with Dr. Jon Callegher from Job Talks, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, and Waterloo Catholic District School Board
- Construction Panel Discussion with NPAAMB and leaders from XL Tool, QM Environmental, LiUNA, Zavcor and the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board
- RBC presentation and Keynote Presentation with RBC Olympian and Sailor, Ali ten Hove
- 9 pre-recorded Haudensaunee and Pow Wow dances
- And School and Company Profiles for attendees to learn more and get connected to all of the partners that sponsored and participated in this wonderful event.
- Closing Ceremony with Indigenous Elder Tom Porter and NPAAMB
“On behalf of the entire Edge Factor team, we want to say a big THANK YOU to NPAAMB, our Sponsors, the Presenters, Panelists, and Attendees for our second, virtual Opportunity Knocks event!” said Larissa Hofman, Vice President of Edge Factor. “It was an absolute delight to link arms with our NPAAMB family to inspire students to discover skilled trades, OYAP, and to fan the fire within! It was a wonderful blend of inspirational and informational sessions, and we are thankful that we were able to host this event with NPAAMB. We honour our friendship and are blessed by our NPAAMB partnership. Thank you for your many hours of work and coordination, it is all worth it for the Youth. We appreciate you and all of the NPAAMB leaders and team members that contributed towards making this event such a success. High fives all around!”
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