Finning Mentoring The Next Generation In STEM

Finning’s partnership with Actua, Canada’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outreach organization, supports day camps that engage youth in hands-on activities to build skills and confidence in STEM. Through this partnership our employees share their knowledge and experiences in STEM and mentor students attending camp.

In August, two of our employees signed up to mentor students at camps hosted by Actua. “I love working with kids, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved,” said Kiersten Schmidt, business analyst for Finning Digital who mentored youth at an Actua camp at the University of British Columbia. “I am such an advocate, being a female in information technology and I love teaching kids that this is a path you can consider, no matter your gender or uniqueness.”

Nathan Duncan, regional technology manager, and Tanner Baudais, technology support specialist, Finning with youth at SCI-FI, Actua camp at the University of Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy of SCI-FI.

For Nathan Duncan, technology manager for Finning, his decision to mentor youth at a camp at the University of Saskatchewan was a no-brainer. “I’m a tech guy, so that’s why I decided to get involved. I have no problem speaking to people, the challenge came with relating to kids,” said Nathan. His fears quickly dissipated when he met the class of grade seven students and realized how savvy they were. “It was incredible how quickly they picked everything up,” said Nathan. “It was so great to be there and open their eyes to the fact they don’t have to be a civil engineer or a scientist. There are plenty of avenues out there in construction, mining or at Finning. Technology is such a huge focus of our core business, and to be able to get in front of these young people and share how the workplace is changing, and maybe influence their career choices, was incredibly rewarding.”

The experience was a positive one for both Nathan and Kiersten. “Just giving back is important,” said Kiersten. “But I am game to help any disadvantaged kids. There shouldn’t be any doors closing at such a young age — anything should be possible. This is an area I love working in and I am extremely passionate about. If I can spark some curiosity in even one kid to consider this area as a career, that would be really rewarding for me. This was a great experience, and I would gladly do it again.”

“It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the experience,” said Nathan. I would encourage my coworkers to get involved and volunteer in the community. It was rewarding for me to be able to give back and I will definitely do it again.”

Finning is a major Western Canada funder of Actua, Canada’s leading science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach organization. Through a network of university and college-based members, Actua annually engages over 250,000 youth across 500 communities in exciting, hands-on STEM experiences including 35,000 youth in Finning communities throughout Western Canada. Actua’s focus is on building skills and confidence in STEM among Canada’s most underserved and underrepresented youth through customized national programs for girls, indigenous youth and youth in rural and remote communities. Learn more about STEM education and our partnership with Actua.

Kiersten Schmidt, business analyst, Finning at Geering Up Actua camp at the University of British Columbia.


Youth participating in an activity at SCI-FI, Actua camp in Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy of SCI-FI.