First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Initiatives

Skills Ontario’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Initiatives aim to increase the awareness of Indigenous youth in the rewarding career opportunities that exist in the skilled trades and technologies.

Meet the Team

FNMI Student Conference

Skilled Trades & Technology Days

Spring Indigenous College
Recruiter Days

FNMI Career Awareness

FNMI-focused Summer Camps

Through our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Initiatives, we do our best to ensure that our programs are led by and inclusive of Indigenous peoples. As we connect youth to Indigenous community members, we develop and deliver programs with this as our top priority. Skills Ontario is dedicated to respecting Indigenous culture; we try to employ FNMI peoples in positions relating to FNMI youth where possible and consult with local First Nations communities when we run events in their area, seeking mentors, elders, and youth to participate.

Thank you to our FNMI Initiatives Program & Student Conference Partners:


This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.




Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation

Bruce Power


Grand River Employment and Training


Workplace Safety & Prevention Services


Meet the Team

MaKayla Assiniwai
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Initiatives Event Coordinator

My name is MaKayla Assiniwai and I am the FNMI Event Coordinator at Skills Ontario. I am originally from Virginia, USA where I grew up and went to undergrad, studying Political Science and Sociology. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and reside with my husband and our three cats in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. I wanted to work with Skills Ontario to help with their mission of educating youth about the skilled trades and technology professions that are viable and valuable career options. I love being able to help bring ideas to life and plan awesome events for our FNMI youth across the province. It is my privilege to work with Skills and our FNMI team each day! 


Bill Couchie
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Initiatives Program Facilitator

My name is William Couchie, but most people call me Bill, and I am a First Nation, Metis, Inuit Program Facilitator with Skills Ontario. I started my career at Skills Ontario in the fall of 2015 and I really enjoyed what I get to do at Skills Ontario.

I am originally from Nipissing First Nation near North Bay, Ontario. I did my BA in History at Nipissing University and in 2007, I moved to London, Ontario to begin a Master program in Indigenous History at the University of Western Ontario. I graduated in with an MA in Indigenous History in 2008 and began my career search. I worked several jobs after university, but I just didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything or felt content about my job. I applied for the FNMI Liaison position at Skills Ontario and began working in 2015. Within the first few weeks, I realized that I had found job that allowed me to be happy and accomplished.

I really enjoy educating students as well as adults about the opportunities and benefits of working in the skilled trade and technology career fields. I get to assist people with the difficult decision of making post-secondary pathway and career choices as well as just introducing them to a whole new career fields they may not have known existed. This position can be very rewarding especially when students tell me that I inspired them to investigate careers in the trades and technologies. Even if only one person tells me I had an impact on them, I feel accomplished.


Trevor Pearce
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Initiatives Program Facilitator

My name is Trevor Pearce and I am from the Ottawa Valley. I believe strongly in the skilled trades as I am a graduate from Canadore College Retail Meat Cutting Program, Transport Training Centers of Canada ACZ Training Program, and 5th Wheel Training Institute as a Heavy Equipment Operator. My mother is of French and Algonquin decent and my father is of Metis and English descent. In 2006 I started my journey on The Red Road. It has been a great experience and I will continue being a helper to the elders as long as they will allow. I take pride in being a Drum Keeper and do believe the heartbeat of the drum heals and brings people together. I have been blessed to work with the schools, colleges, libraries, youth, and communities both as a facilitator and as a helper. I continue to work online on Indigenous Studies. I take great pride in my partner in life Regina and her wisdom and my two sons Dorian and Gabriel for all they have accomplished. I look very forward to working with you.


FNMI Student Conference

Beginning in 2016, Skills Ontario hosts a community gathering specifically for FNMI students at the Skills Ontario Competition. This event helps youth understand the rewarding career options in the skilled trades and technologies, while celebrating a shared cultural heritage and the success of FNMI youth across Ontario.

The 2023 FNMI Student Conference will take place with sponsorship from Pomerleau.


Skilled Trades and Technology Days

Skills Ontario’s Trades and Tech Days are an opportunity for youth who identify as First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) and non-Status to meet and network with community members who have already chosen a career in the skilled trades and technologies. Youth learn about the journey of these mentors and explore their interest through experiential activities.

These events not only deliver a unique mentoring opportunity but also provide youth with information from our in-school presentation program, as well as with the experience to participate in workshops. This combination allows students to actively explore the knowledge and skills involved in skilled trade and technology occupations.

Out of several hundred participants, over 90% have reported being more interested in considering a skilled trade or technology career after attending Skills Ontario’s Trades and Tech Days. Educator and workshop leaders have expressed the success of, and need for, this programming in their communities.

Connect with Makayla at for more information on this program.


Spring Indigenous College Recruiter Days

These information sessions are for Indigenous youth in secondary school to learn about supports and opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies. 


Date Time (EST) Co-Hosts
March 29, 2022 10 am - 11 am
Watch recording here
  • Metis Nations of Ontario
  • Native Women's Association
  • ABBO
March 29, 2022 1 pm - 2 pm
Watch recording here
  • Six Nations Polytechnic
  • Seven Generations
  • Kenjgewin Teg
March 30, 2022 10 am - 11 am
Watch recording here
  • Confederation College
  • Sault College
  • College Boreal
  • Cambrian College
March 30, 2022 1 pm - 2 pm
Watch recording here
  • Northern College
  • Canadore College
  • Algonquin College
  • Loyalist College
March 31, 2022 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Watch recording here
  • Fleming College
  • Georgian College
  • Durham College
  • Centennial College
March 31, 2022 11 am - 12 pm
Watch recording here
  • St. Lawrence College
  • St. Clair College
  • Seneca College
  • Conestoga College
March 31, 2022 1 pm - 2 pm
Watch recording here
  • Humber College
  • Lambton College
  • Niagara College
  • Mohawk College


FNMI Career Awareness Workshops/Presentations

Opportunities in the Skilled Trades and Technologies

We’re thrilled to continue to educate and inspire youth to explore the skilled trades and technologies, and are now offering our presentations virtually on multiple platforms. Book a presentation for your classroom here.

The FNMI Initiatives program tailors the Skills Ontario presentation program to a hands-on workshop with culturally relevant information. This workshop is designed to educate students on the hundreds of career opportunities available in the construction, motive power, service, industrial and technology sectors. This interactive, 45-60 minute multimedia hands on workshop is updated annually.

Workshops regarding career opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies are available in communities, cultural gathering places, and in schools.  Skills Ontario’s FNMI Workshop brings the topic of skilled trades and technologies to the forefront and encourages young FNMI people to consider and test out their hands-on abilities.

During the workshop, youth, unemployed and underemployed attendees, and educators have the opportunity to:

  • Discover the benefits of careers in the skilled trades and technologies
  • Take a visual tour of the skilled trades and technologies that interest them: with topics such as median salary, description of the role, what qualities, education and training a worker should have; students are encouraged to look for a career that fits their desired lifestyle, personality and interests
  • Learn about the steps to apprenticeship, as well as other pathways to a career in the skilled trades
  • Find out how to acquire skills and experience
  • Understand the importance of employability skills in the workplace and how these skills can easily make or break a job opportunity
  • Access further resources and determine how to get started on a path that is right for them

Skills Ontario’s FNMI Workshops are the perfect complement for all career exploration or development courses.


FNMI-focused Summer Camps & Virtual Workshops

Our Skills Ontario Summer Camp & Virtual Workshop program offers sessions specifically for FNMI youth. Visit the Summer Camps page for more info.