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The Future of Indigenous Talent in Tech

In recognition of National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day, meet three BMO interns who were participants of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re/Start program: Dominque Ireland, Kyle Moore and Spencer Bellerose. They are three of 18 individuals from Indigenous communities across Canada who joined BMO as interns after successfully completing the 12-week cloud-based skills development program. BMO, AWS and PLATO Testing, Canada’s only Indigenous-led IT services and training firm, teamed up to offer the program that prepares individuals for a career in technology.

After completing the initial 12-week program, the interns were placed in various teams across T&O, providing them with valuable exposure to AWS cloud infrastructure within BMO. Spencer, a member of Thessalon First Nation, is wanting to gain experience and find a career in the tech industry. “The AWS re/Start program was of interest to me because I was a new computer science graduate without much industry experience,” said Spencer. “I figured that it would be a great way to get my foot in the door and begin to develop the professional experience I need.” 

Halfway into their six-month internship we asked them to reflect on their experience thus far and how they have used the skills gained during the AWS re/Start program. Kyle, who is Manitoba Métis, mentioned his first day was “a little nerve racking but everyone was really nice, and the transition was very easy.” He is also grateful for his mentor’s support and hopes to make the most out of his time during the internship.  

Oneida Nation of the Thames member, Dominique, appreciates that this program supports and respects the cultural needs of Indigenous peoples. “I think this program is great because it can provide the accommodation and accessibility needs for support of Indigenous peoples,” said Dominique. “They don’t have to leave their communities and cancel their commitments of cultural works for the in-person training program.”

In 2016, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board published a report which found that closing the significant opportunity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians would boost Canada’s economy by $27.7 billion annually, or an approximate 1.5% boost to the nation’s economy. 

Through access to skills development training and a flexible work environment, this strategic initiative aims to contribute to leveling the playing field through learning and increasing representation, advancement, and empowerment of Indigenous Peoples in the workplace – exemplifying one of the various ways BMO is committed to Boldly Growing the Good in business and life

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