ITK launches Inuit youth leadership program
Summer internship helps Inuit develop professional skills, says Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami spokesperson
Six Inuit youth from across Canada will have a chance to gain professional work experience this summer through a new initiative from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
ITK, the national organization representing Inuit in Canada, has launched the Inuit Youth Leadership Program, a new paid summer internship opportunity in Ottawa.
The program was developed to give Inuit youth an opportunity to gain work experience in policy advancement, research, communications and corporate services, directly with an organization that does work at the national level, said Tracy Sarazin, the senior director of corporate services for ITK.
“It is part of our national strategy and action plans to provide mentorship opportunities,” Sarazin said, citing the work that ITK does to advance the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada.
“We work on many issues. They can be anything from suicide prevention, to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, climate change … social development, so there are many different work opportunities [for participants],” she said. Chances to learn about policy investments, human resources and finance will also be available.
Sarazin said participants will be paired with a mentor who they’ll work with throughout the program. Participants will also work together during learning opportunities like field trips and visits to other organizations in Ottawa. At the end of the summer, they will have the chance to visit another region in Inuit Nunangat for a capstone project.
“There’s always challenges with the pandemic that we can’t predict, but we are really hoping that it will be a program where youth can have a personable relationship with an ITK employee [and] also have that peer support with the other six with other participants,” Sarazin said.
The four-month program is open to Inuit youth across Canada, with participants coming from outside of Ottawa given relocation and accommodation assistance. ITK plans to run the program this summer and again in 2023 and 2024.
The program is open to Inuit youth aged 18 to 30. Those who qualify can fill out an application form available on the ITK website.