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November 3, 2020
Earlier this year, Animikii entered into a new, exciting partnership with First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) to provide ongoing mentorship to its graduates of their Focus Web Development program—an intermediate web development course developed by the First Nations Technology Council using best practices in Indigenous and adult education—at no cost to either the mentee or FNTC.
Software development is a huge and high-growth area with many well-paying jobs being created every day. Through their Foundations and Focus programs, FNTC helps provide training to Indigenous Peoples to enable them to qualify for these sought after jobs in tech, or go on to web development bootcamps such as Lighthouse Labs, who also partner with FNTC. Many of these programs offer mentorship throughout the course, but some students struggle upon completion to know what to do next to increase their chances of landing that first job. Without the support of a mentor, they are left with a lot of questions. What portfolio project should they work on? How should they architect the feature they are working on for their project? How do they answer a specific question in a technical interview? Or maybe they just need help making a breakthrough with a bug they’ve been stuck on for days. Or even just some encouragement from someone who’s been there during tough days and application rejections.
Driven by their twin passions of web development and mentoring, Software Developer Thunderbirds James Matsuba and Fabio Papa conceived the idea of partnering with FNTC to mentor Indigenous youth trying to break into web development. Through their contacts at Lighthouse (both are alumni of the program, and Fabio worked as a mentor there), they reached out to the wonderful staff at FNTC, who showed immediate interest.
Together, Animikii and FNTC designed a mentorship program that would best serve the Indigenous youth being mentored. They came up with a plan to have Fabio and James introduce themselves and tell their unique stories, and answer questions part way through the Focus program. At the end of the program they would make themselves available for one-on-one mentorship as needed, offering assistance in the areas of software architecture, bugs, projects, interview assistance, resume review, etc. In this way we are confident we can narrow the gap between graduation and that crucial first job.
At the time of this writing, James and Fabio have held one group mentorship meeting with a batch of Focus Web Development Students , where much interest was shown in their services. They are eager to cap off the year with a few one-on-one mentorship sessions as soon as they can be lined up.
This program has incredible potential. Today, only Fabio and James are participating as mentors in the program, but there is a growing list of other developers that work at Animikii that might also join in. Which would mean a greater number of Indigenous youth being mentored.
Fabio has a grand vision of what this could manifest into: “I would be so happy if we end up mentoring so many Indigenous youth, that Animikii ends up hiring a bunch, and one of them eventually takes on managing this program. An Indigenous person, hired from this program, taking over this program to mentor more Indigenous youth—something about that makes me warm inside.”
Animikii are excited and honoured to be working with FNTC on this program to serve our Indigenous communities, and hope that we will be able to do so for a long time to come.
First Nations Technology Council is in critical need of financial support. Visit their donation page at https://technologycouncil.ca/donate to find out more, or go directly to their GoFundMe page to directly support them in achieving digital equity for Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia.
The initiatives at the First Nations Technology Council are significantly strengthened through engagement from Indigenous companies like Animikii, who demonstrate leadership in aligning Indigenous values with innovation and socioeconomic growth. Animikii is the largest Indigenous-owned digital agency on Turtle Island, and their talented team specializes in custom software, design and branding, and digital communications.
The Animikii staff volunteer program has provided mentorship opportunities for students in the Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology courses, empowering these students to see a clear path forward in their own technology journeys. Together, we work towards increasing Indigenous leadership in the technology and innovation sectors.
November 3, 2020
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