First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program

The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program supports initiatives that assist young people in acquiring the essential skills that will help them gain employment, function well in the workplace, and learn about job and career options. This program is one of two programs under the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (FNIYES).

If you are a First Nations or Inuit student looking for skills link opportunities, consult FNIYES. This page will be updated every May. The information below is for First Nation and Inuit governments and organizations wishing to apply for funding to hire students.

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About the program

Projects under the First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program may include career fairs, co-operative education projects, and other school-based work and study opportunities.

Successful proposals by First Nations and Inuit governments and organizations:

National Science Camps

The Skills Link Program also supports National Science Camps. Held annually, these camps offer a great opportunity to bring together First Nations and Inuit youth from across Canada. The week of activities is designed to promote interest in science and technology and encourage young people to consider a career in these fields.

The National Science Camps have been held in various regions across Canada.

Photographs from previous National Science Camps can be viewed here:

To find out about the next National Science Camp and how students are selected contact your Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) regional office.

Who can apply?

First Nations and Inuit governments and organizations may submit proposals for programming that target First Nations and Inuit youth who are ordinarily resident on-reserve, in recognized communities, or on community lands.

Ordinarily resident on-reserve means that eligible youth live on-reserve, do not maintain a primary residence off-reserve, and may be temporarily off-reserve for the primary purpose of seeking education.

For co-operative education activities, only First Nation schools or federal schools on-reserve may submit proposals through their administering organization.

Eligible recipients may then enter into agreements with private sector and non-profit sector employers to access employment opportunities for youth. Private organizations may be eligible for funding if the nature and intent of the activity is non-commercial, not intended to generate profit, and supports FNIYES program priorities and objectives.

Eligible participants

Eligible participants are aged 15 to 30 inclusively. Mentored work placements are for youth who are not in school, unemployed or underemployed.

Co-operative education placements are for students in grades 7 to 12 (secondary 1 to secondary 5), enrolled in and attending a federal or band-operated school. For activities promoting careers in science and technology, youth may be younger than 15 years of age if they are enrolled in grades 7 to 12.


The deadline to submit a proposal is May 1, 2016.

How to apply?

Applicants must submit detailed proposals for the project to be undertaken over the course of the agreement and clearly state how the proposed activities will further the objectives of this program.

Proposals must:

A sample proposal form is available. Applicants who have access to the INAC Services Portal should use the electronic form by opening a session on the portal. If you do not have access to the portal, please contact your INAC regional office to get access to the portal. For more information, e-mail or call 1-800-567-9604.

Proposals are reviewed and approved by the INAC regional office or the First Nations or Inuit organization managing the program for their member communities.

More information is available in the First Nation and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy – Skills Link Program – National Program Guidelines 2016-2017.


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