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Woman-led, Indigenous-owned aerospace, defence training program coming to Victoria

RaceRocks was established in 2010
Kishkayhta (Métis for knowledge and learning) will provide hands-on paid experience for Indigenous peoples wishing to enter STEAM occupations. (Graphic Submitted/RaceRocks 3D)

An Indigenous internship and graduate program will be launched in Victoria on June 3, 2024, by RaceRocks 3D, an Indigenous-owned aerospace and defence training company.

“Indigenous peoples make up 5 per cent of adults in Canada but less than 2 per cent of people working in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) occupations,” said Melissa Lundy, communications, Indigenous and government relations specialist at RaceRocks.

Kishkayhta (Métis for knowledge and learning) will provide hands-on experience and equip participants with the necessary skills to thrive in the defence and aerospace sectors.

“Its mission is to provide an Indigenous-led and culturally relevant hands-on paid program for Indigenous people in STEAM,” Lundy said.

RaceRocks is a woman-led and Indigenous-owned training company established in 2010. The company is based in Victoria, B.C., but operates as a fully remote organization with over 40 employees across Canada.

Funds for the launch were made possible through RaceRocks’ $3 million funding round, led by Raven Indigenous Capital Partners.

“The program integrates Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing with Western science to broaden the world around us,” said Lundy.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recommended education reforms in Canada. The educational reforms were suggested to ensure Indigenous peoples are accepted as equals in all fields, including STEAM.

“Kishkayhta will reach Indigenous Peoples across Canada, removing barriers while supporting and uplifting Indigenous success in STEAM,” said Anita Pawluk, RaceRocks’ CEO and President.

The launch will mark RaceRocks’ first internship collaboration with Camosun College, which is dedicated to supporting Indigenous students and representing a new way to help them in STEAM careers.

“What we imagine can come true. As the first male in my family to graduate college, I paved the way for others. Now, as a student starting a new career,” said Kiefer Hay, a software engineering Kishkayhta intern student.

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About the Author: Thomas Eley

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