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When Adrianna Scotchman is baking, she can't help but smile. Seeing her at work in the kitchen of Vancouver's True Confections dessert café is a joy. It's hard to imagine her in any other job.
Two years ago, however, Adrianna wasn't so confident. She'd baked birthday cakes for her nieces and nephews, but hadn't yet chosen a career. As an Indigenous young person from the T'it'q'et First Nation near Lillooet, B.C., she had seen many of her friends drop out of school to start families or care for struggling relatives, but was determined to take a different path.
When Adrianna moved to Vancouver in her mid-20s, her sister urged her to take a professional baking course offered at the Musqueam Indian Band office. "You've always wanted to bake," her sister had said. "You have to do this!"
Launched in the fall of 2016, VCC's Pathways to Baking and Pastry Arts Program – Indigenous Perspectives was designed for Indigenous students with enthusiasm for the trade, but with various barriers to formal education. The program is taught by VCC instructors and offered both on-campus and in Indigenous communities, using a curriculum that reflects individual student interests as well as Indigenous cultural contexts.
"If it hadn't been for that program, I don't know where I'd be," says Adrianna, who has now completed Level 1 of her provincial trade certification at VCC. In the bakery, her favourite task is decorating and she dreams of one day crafting spectacular wedding cakes. "I love to get everything looking pretty," she says.
Learn more about the supports and services available to Indigenous students at VCC including funding, scholarships, elder support, and more by visiting VCC Indigenous Education and Community Engagement.
Read more stories about VCC's local partnerships and connections in the 2018 VCC Community Report.