Indigenous U of S engineering students get new opportunity

Matthew Dunn, indigenous peoples initiatives coordinator with the college of engineering, speaks in front of a crowd at the University of Saskatchewan. Dayne Winter / Global News

SASKATOON – A newly struck agreement is expected to give indigenous engineering students from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) professional experience and money in their pockets. The Indigenous Peoples Industry Partnership Program includes a summer work placement and tuition assistance.

Fourth-year student Cole Unruh was one of two people from the College of Engineering to take part in a trial run of the program last summer.

“This gives us a chance to get out into the field and get that real experience that we need for our careers,” Unruh said.

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He and fellow indigenous student engineer Rowan Spetz spent their summers working with staff at Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp). Each student received a cheque for $5,000 Tuesday.

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PotashCorp is the first industry group to partner with the U of S for the project.

“We get great summer talent and they make a contribution while they’re working for us, obviously,” said Leanne Bellegarde, director of diversity inclusion with PotashCorp.

Students also receive guidance on the job from an employee mentor.

PotashCorp will host three students this summer. The U of S expects to add more industry partners in the coming months.

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