Looking for a Mentor?
We have a wide range of professional First Nations mentors who are experts in their respective technical fields. Whether you’re interested in a career in water & wastewater, environmental science, trades, housing, or more, we’ve got you covered. Rest assured we take picking our Mentors very seriously. We search for mentors with educational qualifications and professional competence in their technical fields. We perform Police checks for all mentors as our mentees are under 18. We provide orientation training that covers the basics of mentoring, the importance of the program and their role. There are some amazing mentors that make up our community!
Who Can Participate?
This program is open and accessible to all First Nations youth, from grades 7 – 12, who are residing in Ontario. It’s geared towards students that have an interest in or learning more about careers in a technical or STEM field. If you’re not sure if you qualify, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Frequently Asked Questions document.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mentorship?
“Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guides a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor usually helps the mentee identify career goals and provides advice and guidance. Sounds a bit like a coach, right? Not quite. While a mentor might use coaching techniques while working with mentees, coaches aren't necessarily mentors. Coaching is a set of skills and behaviors; mentoring is fundamentally relationship based. Unlike a coach, a mentor might also share personal experiences or recommend potential actions.” (Educase.edu).
What are the benefits of mentorship?
The benefits of mentorship for both the mentor and the mentee are immeasurable, but include forming encouraging and empowering relationships, giving/receiving help with identifying and achieving career goals, identifying gaps in skills or knowledge, increased confidence, access to broader perspectives, building successful relationships and connections and so much more!
Who can sign up?
Our program is open to First Nations youth from grades 7 – 12 who are currently residing in Ontario, on or off-reserve. Our mentors must be over the age of 18, identify as Indigenous and also be either currently working in, or an expert on, a technical career in the areas of emergency management, engineering, environment, fire safety, fuel systems management, solid waste, skilled trades, housing & infrastructure, operations & maintenance, and water & wastewater.
I’ve finished high school but I am looking for a mentor/direction. What can I do?
There are so many amazing mentorship programs out there, we would recommend you check out Indspire’s Rivers to Success program, or Skills Ontario’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Initiatives.
Why was this mentorship program developed?
This program is an initiative of the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) whose mission is to help First Nations achieve technical self-reliance. One of the ways they do this is by creating the technical leaders of tomorrow through the promotion of technical service careers via TYCOP. Many First Nations communities in Ontario are lacking in-house technical expertise when it comes to things like engineering, water and wastewater, housing, fire safety, and more. Here at TYCOP we are trying to bridge that gap by showcasing the benefits of pursuing a technical career for First Nations youth.
What is TYCOP?
The Technical Youth Career Outreach Project (TYCOP) is an initiative of the OFNTSC, that empowers and encourages Ontario First Nations youth to study and pursue careers in science and technology by illustrating personal, professional, community and global benefits of education attainment.
What are the qualifications of your mentors?
Our mentors either come highly recommended to us by our extensive network of contacts within First Nations in Ontario, or we reach out to them directly to invite them to participate. Our mentors are then carefully vetted to ensure they possess adequate knowledge in the given area. All mentors must also be over 18 years of age and pass a police background check for vulnerable sector screening. We do have some younger mentors who are still in University but who are eager to help other First Nations youth follow in their footsteps as they have found their experience to be extremely rewarding.
How long does the program run?
In 2021 the program will launch April 6, 2021 and run until the end of September, 2021. During this time mentors and mentees can meet as frequently or infrequently as they deem necessary. If after 1 – 2 sessions a mentee finds they have been able to answer all of their questions, they can opt-out of the program at that time. We’ve chosen this shorter length to test out the program and help us make any adjustments needed in October 2021 to improve the experience for everyone and enhance the impact for future years.
Why should I sign up?
Mentorship has shown tremendous benefits to all parties involved. As a mentee, you will be matched with a mentor who is working in the field you are interested in. Your mentor will then provide you with guidance and answer any questions that can help you learn more about different careers and what is required to be successful in that area. Technical careers are also in high demand in First Nations communities.
I live off reserve, can I still sign up?
Yes, whether you are living on or off reserve we are looking to assist as many First Nations students as we can.
How do I get a mentor?
To apply to the program and be matched with a mentor, please complete this online form.
How do I become a mentor?
To apply to become a mentor, please complete this online form.
When I hear the word “technical” I think of technology like computers, but that doesn’t seem to be what this program is about. What do you mean by “technical careers?”
We consider technical careers to be pretty much anything and everything to do with what your municipal public works department would do, plus a little bit more. These are the careers that First Nations in Ontario are lacking and often have to outsource, such as a water treatment plant operator, engineers, environmental scientists, housing inspectors, fire safety officer, emergency planners, and so much more.
Career Finder Quiz
If you’re unsure about which technical career is right for you, have no fear! We’ve designed a quiz to help you identify your key interests, habits, skills, and personal qualities that will match you with the perfect technical career. We also have a full list of careers we consider to be vital for the future technical self-reliance of First Nations in Ontario. To see our list of technical careers, click here. (list from social media schedule).
Benefits of Having a Mentor
As an Indigenous organization, our priority is First Nations youth in Ontario. As the fastest growing demographic is it important to support our youth with as many resources and opportunities as possible that help them in achieving their academic, career and life goals. Through relationships we hope to broaden perspectives, increase opportunities and strengthen communities for everyone. Among youth who are mentored:
- 17% are more likely to be employed.
- 13% have higher earnings
- 50% are more likely to volunteer
- Over 45% achieve senior leadership positions (Stats Mentoring Canada)
- 80% of adults who had a mentor said they pursue healthy lifestyles – Boston Consulting Group SROI Study 2013
- Are more likely to be committed to their career
- Have a better understanding of what to expect
- Get more satisfaction from their career
- Are more optimistic about advancement in their career
Here at the Technical Youth Career Outreach Project, we are always looking for amazing mentors to connect with First Nations youth. That’s why we look for mentors who are also Indigenous themselves, so that they can relate to the life experience of our mentees. Our mentors are also required to be experts of, or currently working in, a technical service area such as solid waste management, water treatment plant operations, environmental science, and more. We also aim to elevate female role models and mentors in these areas to demonstrate the importance of women working in STEM careers. If you’re an Indigenous person working in a technical service area in Ontario, consider joining our group of mentors and make a difference in the lives of First Nations youth!