Indigenous Internship Program – Great opportunities for the 2023-2024 cohort – Community Housing Transformation Centre – Centre de transformation du logement communautaire
6 Jun, 2024

Indigenous Internship Program – Great opportunities for the 2023-2024 cohort

stagiaires autochtones
By Centre

Since its inception, the Centre has been actively engaged in the ongoing process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Despite often facing challenges related to inadequate or hard-to-access housing, poor living conditions, and homelessness, Indigenous communities remain underrepresented in community housing leadership.

The Indigenous Internship Program was set up to reverse this trend. Launched with the support of industry partners, the Indigenous Internship Program is now in its second year.

Guided by their coach, the interns collaborate with various organizations and immerse themselves in the Center to learn about the housing sector, its ecosystem, and its practices.

Stefanie Einfeld,Manager, Internship programs, introduces the program.
Chantel Caza looks back on these first months and her experience.

An Opportunity to Sharpen their Knowledge of the Industry

The program takes place over a 9-month period and offers trainees the opportunity to explore four focus areas:

  • Operations, property management, governance, tenant relations, advocacy, and policy
  • Sustainability, Housing Development, Strategic Planning and Asset/Risk Management
  • Program and development management – grant writing, assessment and contracting
  • Communications, resource, and research

Interns have a two-month assignment at each stage and are at the end of the program’s second phase.

Like their predecessors, the 2024 cohort is hard at work!

After a few weeks of general orientation, all interns began learning about operations through a work placement at CCHR (Canadian Centre for Housing Rights). They were then split into two groups, one joining the Nunavut Housing Corporation, the other the Aboriginal Housing Management Association.

With the second part of the program focusing on sustainability, the group joined the REC team at the Centre, and took part in a community of practice meeting with the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities). At the same time, each intern took the Property and Building administration course offered by the Institute of Housing Management IHM Canada, to build up a solid knowledge base in this field.

The learning curve carries on, and the group joined the CAHDCO offices at the beginning of April. This experience enabled them to create concrete tools and visit locations which they used as cases for their feasibility study. At the end of their training, the interns successfully presented this study to the Board of Directors. Notably, the presentation emphasized potential partnership opportunities.

Collaboration and Networking at the Heart of the Apprenticeship

The program values the understanding of Canadian and Indigenous realities. That is why it relies on interns’ participation in events across the country. The group attended CHRA’s 56th Congress in April and took part in the Indigenous Innovation Forum, enabling them to meet industry leaders.

A time rich in opportunities for learning and networking, as Connor Reid points out:

Connor Reid
Connor Reid

“Attending the CHRA Indigenous Caucus Congress in New Brunswick was a pivotal moment in both my personal and professional journey. The event was not just a professional gathering but a transformative experience that reaffirmed my passion and place in the field. Looking forward to collaborations with Indwell, NICHI and CHRA, I am inspired and excited about the future, carrying with me the deep connections and newfound confidence from this remarkable assembly.”

Some of them even travelled as far as Nunavut to take part in the 2024 Kitikmeot Trade Show in Cambridge Bay.

Placements Enhancing Interns’ Professional Skills

The Interns have just successfully completed their first round of internships with the Center’s partner organizations.

Alexis Olsen reflects on her particularly successful experience at Housing Services Corporation (HSC):

Alexis Olsen
Alexis Olsen

“I had the incredible opportunity to intern with the Housing Services Corporation for the past three weeks. Their commitment to daily reconciliation practices, educating themselves as well as holding space for tougher conversations has left a lasting impression on me. During my internship, I attended various meetings, including COO team meetings and internal project updates. I was able to assist with projects such as reviewing Building Condition Assessments, drafting content for the Energy Matters newsletter, providing a report of the survey results from their End of Mortgage Forum, and evaluating potential speakers for the 2025 Regeneration Event. I want to express my sincere gratitude to HSC for the incredible opportunity and for welcoming me onto their team. The experience and knowledge I gained during my time with HSC are invaluable.”

In the meantime, Connor Reid has discovered his true vocation with CCHR, where he concurrently works on a specific project.

The internship program: a unique experience for Connor Reid.
For Michelle Matkowski, the value of the internship lies in the meeting opportunities.

As Michelle Matkowski points out, the four interns have already returned from these first experiences with a great deal of enthusiasm, a wealth of new discoveries and knowledge, and an enlarged network.

We look forward to following them through the last two learning phases, as they begin to immerse themselves in the world of program and development management at the Centre. They will then conclude their apprenticeship in the field of communications.

We wish them much success!

Would you like to find out more about the Indigenous Internship Program, or would you like to sponsor an internship? Click here to find out more.

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