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Finding real purpose: Supporting equitable access to education and training

The nature of work is changing in Canada and across the globe. Automation, digitization and globalization mean that new skills are in-demand. But let’s be real, when it comes to accessing education and training to prepare for the jobs of the future, many Canadians just can’t afford it.

This lack of access has far-reaching impacts. It affects an individual’s potential to gain stable employment. It also challenges the long-term success of Canadian businesses in bringing on the talent they need. That’s why our goal is to provide access to the education and skills training Canadians need to realize their full potential and grow their incomes.

In 2021, we funded several organizations and programs to advance our goal, this included: The Youth Futures Education Fund and Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. 2021 was also our 18th year hosting Coast Capital’s Youth Education Awards, which last year alone provided $195,000 to 48 B.C. students who are pursuing post-secondary studies despite significant adversity. To learn more about Coast Capital’s investment in these programs, read our 2021 Public Accountability Statement.

Coast Capital’s Indigenous Student Bursary.

To truly make a positive impact, we must first acknowledge that not all students have equal opportunities to thrive.  A higher percentage of students who identify as Indigenous, Black or a person of colour (IBPOC) experience increased barriers to accessing education and employment than those in non-racialized communities.

This year we were thrilled to announce that 68% of Coast Capital’s Education Award recipients identified themselves on their application form as IBPOC. While this was an important step towards equitable access, it wasn’t enough.

We took it one step further by partnering with Indspire, an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Together we created Coast Capital’s Indigenous Student Bursary, providing 10 bursaries of $5,000 each to students in B.C.’s Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and South Okanagan regions.

Indspire’s Bursary program has a profound impact on students. We learned that:

  • Approximately 90% of award recipients will graduate with a undergraduate degree, post-graduate degree, or professional certificatification.
  • Over 50% of graduates will continue their education towards another post-secondary credential.
  • About 60% of employed award recipients will work in fields that support indigenous people.

“Be amazed at what you can accomplish”

“I would like to thank Coast Capital for their generous support through the Indigenous Student Bursary – ƛ̓eecoo ƛ̓eecoo,” said haw̓ iłayiłim (Dianna-Jo), 2022 recipient of the bursary.

“My name is haw̓ iłayiłim, I am a Hesquiaht woman, I am a woman of k̓iixƛaaniš house. My English name is Dianna-Jo. I am from Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Kwaguilth Nations and I would like to acknowledge that I live, sleep and study on the un-ceded and traditional territories of Katzie, Semiahmoo, and Kwantlen Nations.

I am in my first year, studying Criminology at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) at the Burnaby BC campus. In my younger years, I grew up thinking I was not good enough to be good to myself. Most of the good things I wanted to do, I never achieved, nor did I even try to start. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and applied to take the English assessment test with Native Education College (NEC) and received a B+.

This success encouraged me to enroll and complete the Indigenous Justice Studies at NEC. I was very encouraged with my grade, and I kept reminding myself that I am good enough and smart enough to continue with my education. I now think and remind myself every day that I am good enough for myself.

Ever since I started my education journey, my grades have kept improving. This encourages me when I am having those bad days of wanting to quit! Now, this is something that I will never do with the educational path that I have chosen. During my educational journey, I have also been learning more of my language. I am a language student with my nation; attending language classes every week.

In my future studies, I look forward to keeping on going strong and completing my

doctorate in Criminology. I know that my formal and informal education will be a strength

in my future endeavors. This is my main focus right now.

I would also like to remind anyone who is struggling, feeling discouraged, or who are considering going back to school, to please take that step for yourself. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish! And to continuing students, keep going strong and forward to achieve your goals.”

Learn more about Coast Capital’s community investments.

As a Certified B Corporation™, social purpose organization, and financial cooperative, Coast Capital is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of everyday Canadians. We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to build a better future.

As a social purpose company, we put our skills to work to help our employees, members and communities thrive. Learn more about how we are driving positive change by checking out our 2021 Public Accountability Statement.


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