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With the unfolding of these developments, demand for Aboriginal peoples with natural resources training will increase. Employers predict a 3% annual increase in the number of foresters required nationally over the next 5 years (Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. March 25, 2004. pg. 19). As approximately 50% of the Aboriginal population is under the age of 25 (Statistics Canada, 2001 Census) Aboriginal people are strategically placed to address this demand.

The Challenge:

I n c r e a s i n g l y , c a r e e r s i n n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s r e q u i r e a p o s t - s e c o n d a r y e d u c a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y a t t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l l e v e l . 6 U n f o r t u n a t e l y , f e w A b o r i g i n a l p e o p l e a r e s t u d y i n g i n n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e d i s c i p l i n e s . A c c o r d i n g t o S t a t i s t i c s C a n a d a ( M a r c h , 2 0 0 4 ) , o n l y 4 5 0 0 A b o r i g i n a l p e o p l e , o r 1 . 2 % o f t h e t o t a l A b o r i g i n a l student population were studying at a post-secondary level in resource-related fields. 7

This is due in part, to the relatively low numbers of Aboriginal youth that are successful in meeting the math and science entry requirements for post-secondary programs. Based on data collected by the I n f o r m a t i o n D e p a r t m e n t , B C M i n i s t r y o f E d u c a t i o n , A b o r i g i n a l y o u t h a r e u n d e r - r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e g r a d e 1 2 m a t h a n d s c i e n c e p r o g r a m s , r e l a t i v e t o t h e i r n o n - A b o r i g i n a l c o u n t e r p a r t s . 8 A t t h e s a m e t i m e , A b o r i g i n a l y o u t h w h o a r e p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n m a t h a n d s c i e n c e p r o g r a m s , t e n d t o u n d e r - p e r f o r m , r e l a t i v e t o t h e n o n - A b o r i g i n a l p o p u l a t i o n . 9 W h i l e t h e r e h a v e b e e n m o d e s t g a i n s i n t h e p e r f o r m a n c e 1 0 o f A b o r i g i n a l y o u t h i n m a t h a n d s c i e n c e o v e r t h e l a s t 1 0 y e a r s a n d t h e o v e r a l l n u m b e r s o f A b o r i g i n a l y o u t h p a r t i c i p a t i n g in these programs has increased, the rate of participation has remained relatively constant. 1 1

Table 1.

Participation

a

and Success Rate

b

for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Youth

E n r o l l e d i n G r a d e 1 2 M a t h a n d S c i e n c e P r o g r a m s , B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a P u b l i c S c h o o l s , A c a d e m i c c , d Year 2003/2004.

Subject

Participation

Success Rate

Participation

Success Rate

Math

7%

73%

33%

86%

Aboriginal Students

non-Aboriginal Students

6

Which includes careers such as professional foresters, wildlife and fisheries biologists, hydrologists, geo-spatial surveyors, etc.

7

There is no category for natural resources (see attached table). Natural Resources are best captured by the Agricultural, Biological, Nutritional, and Food Sciences category. As such, the number studying in natural resources is in all likelihood significantly lower.

8

Table 1.

9

Table 1.

10

i.e., the percentage of Aboriginal youth that attain a C- or better in their studies.

11

To view the full report, go to http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/perf2004.pdf

Proceedings from ForestEDWest II – Banff, Alberta – January 2006

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