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.
Call for Proposals now closed
The 2024 to 2025 call for proposals to support activities under the First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program is now closed. The deadline to submit a proposal was February 9, 2024 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.
- supports the development and enhancement of essential employability skills and knowledge among First Nations and Inuit youth that equip them to participate and succeed in the current and future labour markets, such as communication, problem-solving and working with others
- exposes youth to a variety of career options
- helps youth acquire skills by providing wage subsidies for mentored work experiences
- supports the provision of mentored school-based work and study opportunities such as co-operative education and internships
- helps First Nation and Inuit youth overcome barriers to employment
- promotes the roles of education and skills in successfully participating in the labour market
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 offer employment opportunities directly to youth or 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 wage costs and mandatory employment-related costs.
Private sector employers may be eligible to receive funding to cover funding up to 50% of wage costs and mandatory employment-related costs.
Eligible youth participants
Eligible participants include:
- First Nations youth ordinarily resident on reserve or in a recognized community, such as an approved settlement on Crown land
- Inuit youth who are residents in Canada but who reside outside their territory and are no longer eligible to be funded by their territory.
- Since territorial governments are the primary service providers for Inuit youth who reside on their territory, youth must provide proof that they are ineligible to receive funding from their territorial government to participate in eligible Skills Link Program
- Eligible youth must be legally entitled to work in Canada. Youth means persons aged 15 to 30 at the start of the program’s activities
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 was February 9, 2024 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.
- meet the National First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy Skills Link Program guidelines
- be gender-balanced
- outline the activities to be undertaken and explain how they will meet the program's objectives
- outline the results to be achieved by the project
- demonstrate that the activities will provide assistance only to eligible participants
- provide an estimate of eligible costs, including those assumed by partners
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 2024 to 2025.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Thank you for your feedback