Introducing the National Indigenous Fisheries Mentorship Program: An Expansion of ITSD Hub’s Services

Posted on October 11, 2023
Updated October 11, 2023
A fisherman working on a boat deck, sorting out oysters and other shellfish. Traditional sustainable oyster fishing on the River Fal.

We are delighted to unveil plans for a new addition to the Indigenous Training and Skills Development (ITSD) Hub’s existing range of training development and delivery services. Set to launch in 2024, the National Indigenous Fisheries Mentorship Pilot Program is an initiative developed in collaboration with the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute (NIFI).

This mentorship program will be crafted to address a significant gap in the fisheries sector: the need for a community-driven and Indigenous-led knowledge transfer program that connects emerging Indigenous talent with experienced professionals.

Responding to Community Needs

This program emerges from the grassroots level, informed from needs shared by Indigenous communities across Canada within the Indigenous Program Review (IPR). Torrye Wheaton, ITSD Hub Director, conveyed the vision behind the initiative: “This isn’t a new discussion, but the importance of mentorship has never been given enough attention. Mentorship is everything—Indigenous youth need to be learning from experts in the fisheries space with shared values and realities.” The program aligns itself with recommendations from the Indigenous Program Review and will significantly enhance community-based training options.

Mentorship: A Crucial Step for Indigenous Leadership Development

John G. Paul, President of the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute, articulated how this mentorship initiative aligns with broader goals. “Programs like this,” he said, “support career progression and succession planning, which are essential to Indigenous leadership development.”

The Program Structure

The exact structure of the National Indigenous Fisheries Mentorship Program is still under development; however, preliminary conversations with Indigenous organizations in our network have indicated a desire for a mix of in-person and virtual mentorship opportunities, along with career placements. We want the program to offer a flexible approach to mentorship, with options for in-person workshops for hands-on skills development, one-on-one mentorship experiences for focused learning and relationship building, and career placements that provide a stepping stone or new perspectives on employment opportunities. Over the next 6 months, we will be diving into deep conversations with folks across the country to learn more about unique mentorship needs and community-level distinctions.

Strengthening Relations and Distributing Expertise: Building Resilience in the Indigenous Fisheries Sector

The National Indigenous Fisheries Mentorship Program aims to do more than facilitate individual growth; it aspires to fortify the larger Indigenous network within the fisheries arena. By fostering connections among emerging talent and established professionals, the program will amplify the dissemination of specialized expertise within and across communities. Networking not only strengthens individual support systems but also builds collective resilience. The more interconnected we are, the more robust and adaptive our communities become in navigating the complexities and challenges of the fisheries sector.

As we gear up for the program’s official launch in 2024, we invite you to stay tuned for further updates through our website and newsletter.

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