Career Prospects for Aboriginal Youth in Canada

Aboriginal youth in Canada are less likely to actively participate in the workforce due to more limited employment opportunities in remote communities, early parenting, early school leaving, and other factors.

Career Prospects and Challenges

Businesses hiring aboriginal youth face problems such as underperformance, reluctance to relocate, and racism and discrimination between non-indigenous and indigenous employees. Lack of job experience, education, and qualifications also contribute to performance issues. Other problems that businesses report include language issues, substance abuse, inadequate skills, and absenteeism. The good news is that more and more companies have programs in place to retain aboriginal workers and help them master key skills. These include mentorship programs, development and learning opportunities, and aboriginal-friendly programs.

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Government Aboriginal Labor Market Programs

The Canadian government runs different programs to help improve the career prospects of aboriginal youth. The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, for example, offers young people the opportunity to build on their skills. Financing is offered under the program to service delivery organizations that work with Metis, Inuit, and First Nations communities and offer job training. A number of service delivery organizations operate across Canada, including the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Ktunaxa Nation Council, and Western Cree Tribal Council. The Skills and Partnership Fund also works to improve the employment prospects of aboriginal people by offering funding for training-to-employment and skill development projects and initiatives. Finally, the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy is an initiative that aims to provide training, information, work experience, and exposure to different career paths. All programs aim to equip aboriginal youth with essential job-related skills such as career research, life skills, numeracy, and literacy. Skill enhancement services are also offered and mainly focus on self-employment, work experience, occupational training, and further education. Different services are available, including employment services and referral to pre-employment services. Employment services are mainly in the form of referrals to agencies, employer referrals, and employment retention support.

Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities are available through job placement programs and internships, community organizations, local employment centres, and Aboriginal labor market development organizations. Cultural awareness programs also help combat discrimination and racism in work settings and result in better inclusion, understanding, and equity.

Career Prospects and In-Demand Jobs by Province

In British Columbia, employment opportunities are available in tourism, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Manufacturing positions in demand include truck drivers, sheet metal workers, gas and oil well drillers, and petroleum engineers. Workers are also needed in the telecommunications sector, including electronics service technicians, computer systems analysts, and electronics engineers. In Yukon, the largest employer used to be the government but this is no longer the case. Today, there are good opportunities to start and run a small business in the tourism sector, for example, repair and maintenance services for recreational vehicles.

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Youth in Alberta enjoys good employment and career prospects in tourism, telecommunications, and especially in gas and oil production. This is due to the fact that the province is the largest gas and oil producer. Career opportunities for young people include gas process operator, mineral and geological technician, and petroleum engineer. Employment opportunities are also available in the tourism sector, and positions in demand include food service and restaurant manager, cook and chef, retail salesperson, and front desk clerk.

The majority of businesses in Saskatchewan are small businesses with up to 20 employees. Jobs are available in sales and services, manufacturing, healthcare, and services industries. Manufacturing occupations to look into include electronic engineering technician, die maker, and soldering machine operator. The province with the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs, however, is Manitoba, especially in Western Canada. The manufacturing sector here offers good employment prospects for Aboriginal youth, especially sectors such as farm machinery, healthcare devices, and chemistry. The list of in-demand occupations includes positions such as chemical engineer, electrical engineer, engineering technician, industrial mechanic, and civil engineer.

Mountain Biking in Canada

Canadians take pride in having excellent mountain biking trails for riders of every level. Trails such as the ones in Fernie, Kamloops, and Rossland should be on every biker’s must-do list. Canada is also the host of racing events and one of the world’s largest biking festivals held in Crankworx Whistler.


Many bikers from around Canada flock to Fernie, and this is not surprising in light of the fact that there is something for everyone, from expert to beginner trails, including a lift accessed downhill and cross-country trails. There are seven biking areas with a total length of over 700 km and a large variety of trails, including pine groves, forests, and alpine vistas. The trails in Fernie include the Fernie Alpine Resort & Bike Park, Ridgemont, Mount Proctor, Castle Mountain & Morrissey, and others. Bikers will find trails for all levels, including expert, advanced, intermediate, and beginner. In 2019, some areas will be closed due to maintenance, campground expansion works, road updates, clean up, and lodging.


The biking trails in Kamloops are also not to miss and cover an area of 470 km. For many enthusiasts, this is one of the most diverse areas in Canada which is ideal for 4 season biking due to its semi-arid climate. There are trails for winter biking, high-speed alpine downhill, and classic single track.


Known as the Mountain Biking Capital of Canada, Rossland, BC features well-maintained trails with an area of more than 280 km. The area offers plenty to do besides biking, from playing golf and relaxing in a pool to hiking, horseback riding, boutique shopping, and plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants. Other mountain biking trails not to miss are found in the Jasper National Park, Alberta, Collingwood, Ontario, Cumberland, British Columbia, and Mont St Anne, Quebec

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Crankworx Whistler

The biking festival in Crankworx Whistler is a major event that features competitions across different disciplines, as well as celebrations, participatory events, and races for amateurs. There is a host of events for visitors to enjoy, including Air DH, the Deep Summer Photo Challenge, Best Trick, and the A-Line Women’s Session. Best Tricks showcases what experienced bikers can do on two wheels and has featured top bikers such as Greg Watts, Cam Zink, and Jordie Lunn. Started in 2004 and held in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Air DH is a race in which both female and male bikers compete in different categories, including veteran amateur, master amateur, senior amateur, junior, youth, pro, etc. Past winners are Claire Whiteman and Nathan Rennie from Australia, Jill Kintner from the U.S., and Finn Iles from Canada. Other events that visitors enjoy are Dirty Diaries, the Official Whip-Off World Championships, and Canadian Open DH. There are also side events for visitors to attend, including an autograph session, suspension session, mobility session, tech workshop, and bike pulling.

UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

The 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships will be held in Mont-Saint-Anne and are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Santini, Mitas, GoPro, and other partners. There are competitions for both amateurs and bike masters. The array of events includes team relay, women’s trials, women’s dual and downhill, men’s four-cross, dual, and downhill, and other events.