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On Friday, Feb. 12, Vancouver Community College (VCC) opened its doors to Indigenous youth from across B.C. for Soaring – one of the annual career conferences held across Canada by Indigenous education organization Indspire.
The day of college tours and workshops was part of the sold-out 2016 Indspire events which also included an employer trade show at the Westin Bayshore hotel and the 2016 Indspire Awards gala held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
After an official morning welcome at VCC’s Downtown campus, Soaring participants dispersed into smaller workshops and tours led by Indigenous educators from VCC and the wider community. Sessions included activities such as campus tours, baking demonstrations, student panels, and career planning seminars.
Amanda Johnston, a Grade 12 student from Saanich B.C., says she enjoyed learning more about jobs in B.C.’s hospitality and tourism industry in a session led by VCC culinary arts alumnus and Indigenous educator Chris Monkman. “I never really thought about how much work and people go into making a resort or a restaurant function,” says Amanda, who already works as a manager at her local Dairy Queen. Both Amanda and her sister Robyn, who have Inuit roots, say they enjoyed connecting with the hundreds of other Indigenous youth at the conference.
VCC’s Aboriginal Services department also hosted a popular panel featuring four current students, each of whom shared some of their personal experiences and educational goals. While many stories involved struggles such as dropping out of high school and experiencing homelessness and prison, all finished on one encouraging note—that it’s never too late to pursue an education, learn self-discipline, and find your purpose.
“Cooking is my passion,” shared panelist Joseph James, who returned to school as a mature student and is currently a level 3 apprentice in VCC’s culinary arts program. “The chefs here were really hard on me, but I’m grateful. They pruned me to become what I am now.”
See the full Soaring photo gallery:
VCC’s Aboriginal Education and Services Centre offers on-campus gathering spaces and student advising in many areas including applications, funding, and career planning.
Want to visit the VCC campus too? Join us April 20 as we open our doors for Info Night. RSVP now and you could win an iPad mini.