Aboriginal Youth Internship Program

Every year, this program provides a 12-month paid internship for up to 25 young Aboriginal British Columbians, ages 19 to 29. Created by the BC Public Service Agency in partnership with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Aboriginal leaders, and Aboriginal youth organizations as part of government's commitment to the new relationship with First Nations and Aboriginal People, the program received the Deputy Ministers Award of Excellence in Innovation in 2009 and then the Premier's Award for Partnership in 2010-2011 and is now recruiting for the 11th year in 2017!

Program Goals

  • Encourage Aboriginal youth to consider the BC Public Service or Aboriginal organizations as a place to pursue a rewarding career
  • Support Aboriginal youth to develop their leadership skills
  • Provide opportunities for Aboriginal youth to contribute and improve relationship building between Aboriginal communities/organizations and the provincial government
  • Contribute to closing the social and economic gaps that exist between Aboriginal people and other British Columbians

How it Works

  • The program mirrors the school year and runs annually from September to the following August. It provides professional experience, leadership development, cultural support and a professional, cultural, and social network through the intern cohort
  • Interns are placed with a government ministry for nine months, then with an Aboriginal organization for three months, doing important work such as engaging communities, developing policies and programs, managing projects, promoting healthy lifestyles, participating in adjudications and negotiations and conducting research
  • Interns are mentored through the year and have opportunities to attend workshops and conferences, take courses and receive career coaching


Gain Experience and Leadership Skills

Aboriginal Youth Gain Experience and Leadership Skills Through Innovative Internship Program

[Music. Young people walking through woods.]

0:06. Sasha Hobbs, Program Lead, The Aboriginal Youth Internship Program [AYIP]: The Aboriginal Youth Internship Program gives young aboriginal people actual experience within government positions and community service positions within aboriginal communities, so they are applying what they learn on a daily basis. And as they are doing that they’re also  learning what is it that they really love to do, what they’re good at, where they want to learn more and where they can see themselves moving forward to benefit the relationship between aboriginal communities and the provincial government and other levels of government.

0:46. Susan Kelly, Director, Aboriginal post Secondary Education and Training: I get quite awed by the youth that come through here. They are just so amazing. They do such great things. They have such enthusiasm. It is where the future leaders are brought in and given an experience in government. And we are working very hard to make that a positive experience. And it’s really the epitome of the new relationship where both government and aboriginal communities are learning about each other and about how they can better work together.

[Youth in woods raise signs that say Advocate, Organizer, Speaker, Leader, Developer, Dreamer, Visionary, Artist, Role Model, Believe, Aboriginal Youth Internship Program]

1:15. Carleen Thomas, Council Member, Tsleil-Waututh: An actual governance internship is an amazing opportunity, I believe, for aboriginal youth. Now we have people that are on the inside or they have the inside track or they have inside knowledge on how different government agencies work and even if they travel away from work communities, they are still there representing our first nations.

1:36. Christine Thompson, Intern, AYIP:  I think that the relationships I have built with my cohort and with other interns from previous years will be an opportunity for me to network with other nations within my own nation when I go back to my home community and do work within my home community.

1:52. Sasha Hobbs, Program Lead, AYIP: It’s not the same as someone just starting a new job and learning things on the job. They are actively engaged by supervisors and mentors who are there to develop  their capacity for the work they are doing and leadership capacity, which is needed as we move forward to self-governance and the provincial government starts working with first nations and aboriginal communities in new areas. At the end of the program, they really do believe that they can face these challenges.

[Group of interns on a beach where they have drawn in the sand in large letters, INSPIRATION.]

2:23. Group shout: Whooo!