Education / Office of the Premier

First Nations youth mentoring project announced (10/03/29)

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March 29, 2010


REXTON (CNB) - A pilot project encouraging First Nations youth to stay in school so they may develop entrepreneurial training and receive mentoring from the business community will be launched at Bonar Law Memorial School in the upcoming school year.

The Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship pilot project - the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada - is the result of a partnership involving the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), the Department of Education and School District 16.

The announcement was made by former prime minister Paul Martin; Premier Shawn Graham; and Lawrence Keoughan, superintendent of School District 16.

"We are very pleased that the Government of New Brunswick and School District 16 have agreed to implement this program, which will provide First Nations students with entrepreneurial experience and the opportunity for business ownership," said Martin.

The program encourages Aboriginal youth to stay in school so they can develop the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to succeed in post-secondary education or training, at the workplace and in daily life.

"We were elected to improve our education system and to help every New Brunswicker become self-sufficient," said Graham. "This program will give First Nations youth the best opportunities to learn."

The program is designed to improve First Nations students' proficiency in business mathematics, English, accounting, marketing, and information and communications technology; it also helps students acquire leadership skills. Teaching strategies include classroom instruction, simulations, competitions, guest speakers, mentoring and field trips to businesses.

"We are excited to extend educational opportunities for our First Nations youth," said Keoughan. "The skill sets learned under this initiative will benefit the individual students involved, our three Rexton-area First Nations partners and the greater Kent County community."


EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is background information about the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship pilot project. MEDIA CONTACTS: Valerie Kilfoil, Department of Education, 506-470-3178; Lucie Santoro, Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, 514-982-3911.

Background about the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative

The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) is an undertaking by the Martin Aboriginal Initiative (MAI), a charitable organization established by former prime minister Paul Martin and his family.

The MAEI is sponsoring pilot projects to support Inuit, First Nation and Métis youth across Canada before embarking on a larger endeavour nationally. The goals of the MAEI are to reduce the Aboriginal youth dropout rate; to increase the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions; and to provide Aboriginal students with first-hand information about a range of careers related to business.

The pilot projects being undertaken by the MAI are determined after discussions with the pertinent Aboriginal leadership, provincial and territorial education authorities and various national business communities. The MAI plays five roles:

Additional information is online.