First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program
This program helps First Nations and Inuit youth acquire essential employment skills and learn about job and career options.
The 2023 to 2024 call for proposals to support activities under the First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program is now open. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 7, 2023 at 11:59 pm, Eastern time.
On this page
About the program
The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program is 1 of 2 programs under the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy.
This program supports activities that assist youth in gaining the essential skills to help them gain employment, function well in the workplace and learn about job and career options.
Activities can include career promotion, science and technology activities, co-operative education placements and internships and mentored work placements.
- promotes the benefits and importance of education to youth participation in the labour market
- supports the development and improvement of essential employability skills, such as communication, problem-solving and working with others
- introduces youth to a variety of career options
- helps youth gain skills by providing wage subsidies for mentored work experience or for mentored school-based work and study opportunities
Funding is provided to eligible First Nations and Inuit communities, governments and organizations, as well as not-for-profit associations, schools and employers who then provide activities for First Nations and Inuit youth.
Who can apply
- First Nations and Inuit governments and organizations
- First Nations schools or federal schools on reserve
- Not-for-profit associations
- Private sector employers
Eligible recipients may then enter into agreements with private sector and non-profit sector employers to access employment opportunities for youth.
Not-for-profit organizations and private sector employers may be eligible for direct funding for activities that provide opportunities for eligible First Nations and Inuit youth and fall within program guidelines. Not-for-profit organizations may be eligible to receive funding to cover up to 100% of eligible expenditures.
Private sector employers may be eligible to receive funding to cover funding up to 50% of eligible expenditures.
Eligible youth participants
First Nations and Inuit youth aged 15 to 30 who are either:
- ordinarily resident on reserve or in a recognized community (an approved settlement on Crown land)
- Inuit who are residents in Canada, but who reside outside their territory, and are no longer eligible to be funded by their territory. Proof of refusal is required.
Mentored work placements are for youth who are not in school or are unemployed or underemployed.
Ordinarily resident on reserve means that eligible youth:
- live on reserve
- do not maintain a primary residence off reserve
- may be temporarily off reserve for the primary purpose of seeking education
Co-operative education placements are for students in grades 7 to 12, or secondary 1 to secondary 5, enrolled in and attending a federal or band-operated school.
For activities promoting careers and science and technology, youth may be younger than 15 years of age.
The deadline to submit a proposal is February 7, 2023 at 11:59 pm, Eastern time.
How to apply
Applicants must submit detailed proposals for the activities to be done over the course of the agreement.
- follow program guidelines
- be gender-balanced
- outline the activities that support the program's objectives
- demonstrate that activities will provide assistance only to eligible participants
- provide an estimate of eligible costs, including those assumed by partners
- outline the results to be achieved by the project
Proposals are reviewed and approved by the Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) regional office or the First Nations or Inuit organization managing the program for their member communities.
To learn more about the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy: Skills Link Program, consult the National Program Guidelines 2023 to 2024.
For First Nations and Inuit communities, governments and organizations
Recipients who have access to the ISC Services Portal can access the proposal form by opening a session on the portal.
Applicants who have access to the ISC Services Portal should use the electronic form by opening a session on the portal.
If you do not have access to the portal, contact your ISC regional office. To find out more, e-mail email@example.com or call 1-800-567-9604.
First Nations organizations in British Columbia must apply through the First Nations Education Steering Committee.
For not-for-profit organizations and private sector employers
Last year's national program guidelines
National science camps
The Skills Link Program also supports national science camps. Held annually, these camps provide Indigenous students from across Canada with a chance to experiment within the fields of science and technology while encouraging them to consider a career in these fields.
To view photographs from previous national science camps, visit the Photo Gallery on Flickr.
The national science camps are held in various regions across Canada.
To find out about the next national science camp and how students are selected, contact your ISC regional office.