Inspiring the Next Generation to Pursue Careers in STEM

As part of Finning’s partnership with Actua, Canada’s leading science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) outreach organization for youth, Finning took part in a career day in STEM at NorQuest College June 6 in Edmonton.  Nearly eighty Grade 9 – 12 students from Edmonton and surrounding First Nations communities attended the event and were given a unique opportunity to imagine what their futures in STEM might look like.

The event featured a full day of hands-on activities, from engineering compasses, to learning about 3D printing, pollination, water filtration, Morse Code and telecommunications, students learned how STEM is tied to Traditional Knowledge and can be applied to solve problems within their own communities. The initiative is part of Actua’s national model to engage more Indigenous youth in STEM and improve high school graduation rates for Indigenous youth.

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“We focus the majority of our community investment efforts on STEM-related programs, particularly in rural areas that don’t typically have access to resources or mentoring because we believe our work can create a lasting positive impact on communities, which then in turn inspires the next generation of talent needed to support not only our company, but our industry as well,” said Finning Canada Director of Training Services, Shaun Bilodeau. “Our partnership with Actua is critical in supporting our outreach to indigenous youth, who we believe will play a key role in the workforce of the future.”

Finning Canada is a Cornerstone partner and major funder of Actua. With support from Finning, Actua engages 35,000 youth per year in STEM education, including more than 11,000 Indigenous youth in communities throughout Western Canada.

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“Indigenous communities have always asserted that Indigenous knowledge is best applied through land based learning and the sharing of local cultural knowledge. This is particularly true when it comes to learning (STEM) from an Indigenous perspective,” said Doug Dokis, Actua’s Director of In STEM. “This event was an important opportunity for Actua to deepen the impact of our skills building programming for Indigenous youth across Northern Alberta, providing experiential learning while connecting them with education pathways and meaningful employment opportunities.”

Volunteers from Finning were on hand to support the event and guide the students through the numerous displays and hands-on STEM activities put on by Actua’s network members in STEM from Lethbridge University, Red Deer College, NorQuest and the University of Calgary and included representation from NAIT and MacEwan University and Robert Cardinal’s First Light Initiative.

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