Overview of Learning Bird
Learning Bird (LB) is an organization that aims to provide First Nations Schools and Indigenous Communities with access to school resources, that is presented in a way that is well-rounded and inclusive. This is done through the provision of the course content in the form of presentations, handouts as well as online videos and audio files, allowing students and teachers from all across Canada to access their resources. For areas with limited access to a stable connection, LB was also able to provide their resources through a local-server. To ensure that the content is taught well, LB also provides training and coaching sessions to teachers, allowing them to better deliver the content. Through these learning opportunities, Indigenous people are better prepared and better qualified to achieve their career goals.
One of LB’s programs focuses on preserving the culture of First Nations and Indigenous people, specifically through revitalizing their students’ languages. LB supports the preservation of First Nations and Indigenous people’s languages by offering training and shadowing opportunities, as well as collecting audio and video of the languages being spoken in their communities. Through these resources, First Nations and Indigenous people are able to retain their languages more easily. These resources also provide non-speakers an opportunity to learn the language, allowing them to learn more about First Nations and Indigenous people’s languages and cultures too.
Importance of Education for First Nations People
According to the Assembly of First Nations, approximately 44% of First Nations young adults do not hold any certificate, diploma or degree, which is significantly lower when compared to the rest of the Canadian population with about 23% of young adults receiving no certificate, diploma or degree. According to the OECD.org, access to education allows for greater labour productivity, which results in economic growth. Through greater access to education in Indigenous Communities, young adults will both become better prepared to join the workforce and also contribute to economic growth in Canada. Canada has shown continued commitment to enhancing the access to public education to better support Indigenous Communities, and has seen steady growth in the availability of professional development in Indigenous education since 2012, according to People for Education.
As shown in the graph above, availability of professional development in Indigenous education in Ontario has grown from 34% in 2012, in both elementary and secondary schools, to 76% in elementary schools and 82% in secondary schools in 2022. Through this greater availability, teachers will be better equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to better educate students on Indigenous communities and the importance of learning about Canada’s history. While these changes to the education system in Canada have been great, there is still much work to be done in order to further enhance the educational opportunities available to young adults in Indigenous Communities. Through the help of Learning Bird, education is becoming more widely available to individuals in Indigenous Communities.
Consultants at the Global Research and Consulting Group at the University of Toronto had the privilege of working on a project with Learning Bird where they played a crucial role in helping facilitate a partnership between the mining corporation and the indigenous community that was mutually beneficial by providing training and jobs to community members. During this project, our consultants worked closely with Learning Bird to better understand the intricate requirements of creating an effective team and finding the necessary credentials for the required specialized jobs.
To better support this project, the consultants at the University of Toronto led this project by organizing the team up into 2 groups: researchers and planners. Researchers looked into how similar projects were implemented in the past, the benefits of these projects to their respective clients, the financial requirements and any limitations associated with the projects and ways in which our team could improve on the approaches of these previous projects. Planners focused on building a reasonable and actionable education pipeline which was the main goal of the project. A huge factor in the team’s success came from the passion and interest that the team brought to the project. To maximize the team’s success, and the learning opportunity for our students, our consultants also had complete autonomy, allowing the project to grow and evolve significantly, with the majority of research being provided through articles and government sources. Our consultants provided the foundation for a transformative initiative connecting indigenous people with mining corporations, one of the most important sectors in Canada, which was mutually beneficial through the provision of training and jobs to community members.
The Mining Association of Canada recognizes that mining is one of the most important economic sectors and a huge source of jobs within Canada. In 2021, the mining industry contributed $125 Billion of Canada’s GDP, accounting for 5% of the total GDP generated that year. This industry provides communities across Canada with 665,000 job opportunities, making it the largest employer of First Nations and Indigenous Communities in the private sector. Over the past year, Canada has shown great commitment to providing resources needed to support companies within this industry. Canada will continue to improve the competitiveness of companies within this industry through enhancing the country’s Mineral Processing, increasing its industry exploration, improving the infrastructure needed to support these companies, as well as providing support for the workforce, and the ability of individuals to gain the skills necessary for roles within this industry. Learning Bird was able to support Canadians through working towards Canada’s goals of supporting the workforce. Through providing education to individuals, especially to individuals of the First Nations and Indigenous Communities, Canada will be able to better achieve its goals.
Learning Bird. (2022, February 1). About. https://learningbird.com/about/
Learning Bird. (2021, April 26). Programs. https://learningbird.com/programs/
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