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Indspire Conference: Soaring to a better future

Deciding on your career path is never easy—especially if you don’t know what your options are


This past March, over 900 Indigenous youth from across Canada came together at the Soaring: Indigenous Youth Career Conference in Ottawa. They were inspired to pursue their dreams, and we were there to help support them.

The annual conference, hosted by Indspire (a national Indigenous-led charity that celebrates achievements and supports the education of Indigenous people), helps students explore career opportunities that get them thinking about what their future might hold.

“At this year’s Soaring, Indigenous students from all over the country joined together in an inspiring environment to discuss their dreams and their future potential as leaders of tomorrow,” said Sonia Prevost-Derbecker, vice president of Education at Indspire. “They were able to explore post-secondary options, learn about Indspire’s 3,700-plus bursaries and scholarships, gain insight into themselves, and so much more.”

Through interactive tradeshows, interactive career workshops, and a local campus tour, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students had the chance to meet Canadian employers (including Stantec). They also received information on how to apply for Indspire’s bursary and scholarship program. 

This is the eighth year we’ve been involved as a conference partner—but for our employees, the most meaningful part is connecting with the students.

“Participating in the Soaring conference was a truly wonderful experience,” says Denise Pothier, vice president, Practice Services and Indigenous Relations. She led a session called Engineering—making the world a better place. “We facilitated a small exercise with the students where they designed an emergency shelter. The students were very interested in learning about design and engineering principles, and it was inspiring to see their visions take shape.”

Denise was joined by Francois Lauzon, senior principal, Environmental Services (Ottawa, ON), who led a session called When traditional knowledge meets science and engineering. “It was such a pleasure to share our experience of how traditional knowledge is applied in our work and to have the students share their knowledge with me,” said Francois. “The traditional knowledge held by these young people, paired with a future education in science and engineering, will enable them to contribute to their communities in an enhanced and meaningful way.”

The 2017 Soaring conference was held on March 23 and 24 in Ottawa, Ontario. In our work with Indspire and other ongoing Community Engagement initiatives, we continue to support, strengthen, and partner with our Indigenous communities. 

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