The Aboriginal Production Apprentice Program was a pilot employment program designed to create pathways into live event production careers for Indigenous workers and to build Indigenous cultural competency for creative industry leaders. This was achieved through a unique partnership between the City of Vancouver, eight Employer Partners and six external sponsors and funders, including Creative BC.
The program was a low-volume, high-impact program for eight people who expressed interest in lighting, audio, rigging, carpentry, marketing, festival operations, sponsorship, and stage management. Participants were matched with employers who could offer meaningful professional development in their field. Interest in the program was strong, with 92 CVs were received for 8 positions.
The Apprentices were hired as City staff in the summer of 2017, and paid above METRO’s Living Wage. They received safety certificates, safety gear, tools, transit passes, and culturally-specific training in event best practices. They were then deployed to their professional placements, where they received on-the-job work experience, and expanded their professional network in music and live event production. Apprentices joined the Canada 150+ team as Production Assistants on Signature Events, including the Drum is Calling Festival.
Along the way, peer and industry relationships were deepened as Apprentices and Mentors pulled together on local waters on facilitated cultural canoe trips. At the program’s end, the Apprentices had logged a collective 4,300 labour hours and 7 of the 8 Apprentices had jobs or job offers in their area of interest.
The dream is to see the program continue—even expand—into other creative industries here in BC and beyond!
Group photo by Hugo Rempel
Canoe trip photo by Dennis Thomas