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Graduates are ready to lead
Twelve future leaders say they're better prepared for public service

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 24, 2014

After spending 16 months learning a variety of public service jobs, 12 Inuit who finished the Inuit Learning and Development pilot project (ILDP) are in Premier Peter Taptuna's sights.

NNSL photo/graphic

Jackie Eegeesiak graduated Nov. 13 from the Inuit Learning and Development Project, a pilot project to enhance the employability of young Inuit. During the 16 month project, participants worked four different government jobs for four months each. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

"The government is dedicated to increasing beneficiary employment," Taptuna told graduates Nov. 13. "So hopefully you'll be putting in your resumes to the Government of Nunavut tomorrow."

The ILDP pilot project was developed by the GN, the Government of Canada, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) to show promising Inuit the opportunities that exist in the public service.

The end goal is to give Inuit the skills needed to get hired with the three partners to increase beneficiary representation.

"I really enjoyed all of my rotations because they were within my interests," said Clyde River's Joanna Panipak, 25, who took 16 months away from an environmental technology program to do the course. "I was able to work in any kind of environmental areas and my mentors and coaches were able to help me with that."

During the 16 months, each student worked in four different departments for four months each to get a taste of what's available in the public service. After rotations that included the GN's fisheries department and the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office (Nunavut News/North profiled Panipak during her time with them in June), she returned to work full-time at her first rotation, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Nastania Mullin, 27, stuck with his final placement and now works full-time with the GN as the sustainability co-ordinator for Community and Government Services. He came to the program after college in Kingston, Ont., spending his last semester in Mexico, and a two-year university program in Australia, spending his last semester in Paris, France.

"Coming back, I was eager, motivated and ready to tackle the world," said Mullin, who was raised in Pangnirtung. "I wasn't sure where to focus my energy and then I heard about this program at a career fair in Ottawa. Being the first of its kind, I saw an opportunity to groom and develop my skills but also be groomed and develop the program."

For him, the diversity of opportunities ensured his success in finding employment that suited him.

"The networking opportunities and possibilities we had through the program (are) off the charts," he said. "You really can't compare that to anything because it's the first cohort. In terms of future goals, I'm now extremely motivated and ambitious to take the skills I've obtained in the program and hone in on that in my current role."

Graduates are now fast-tracked for consideration for term and indeterminate jobs with the three partners.

"If there's a job that comes up that I'm interested in, I'm applying," Panipak said. "I don't have a set mind where I want my career then and there. I still want to find out some more. I'm only 25, and people change what they want to do."

Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq acknowledged this fact at the graduation ceremony, but assured the graduates that their skills will always find a home with the government.

"Nunavut will always welcome the support of eager and capable individuals such as yourselves who would be willing to enter public service," Aglukkaq told the graduates. "Public service is the main way we further the public good. Ultimately, you are helping your fellow Canadians and your fellow Nunavummiut. Whether you are helping someone apply for a grant or a loan, or fill out an application for a passport, you are having an impact on an individual, on your country, and on your community."

"It's really vital that as Nunavut grows, our youth are well educated and choose to work for the GN," Taptuna affirmed. "There are plenty of opportunities for them to grow and contribute, not only to the government, but to the whole territory. It's also important that our youth focus on education so they can choose a career that takes them wherever they want to go."

The pilot project's effectiveness is now being reviewed, with a final report expected later this month.

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