Saskatchewan hiring ‘Auntie in Residence’ position to help students

Auntie in residence

Ryan Jimmy, associate director of strategic initiatives at SIIT, is spearheading the hiring of an Auntie in Residence. Photo: Leanne Saunders/APTN

The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) has a unique employment opportunity as it gets ready to launch a new entrepreneurship program in Saskatoon.

The school is looking for an “Auntie in Residence” to support the first cohort of 15 students in Miyoskamin: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

It’s a five-month applied certificate program, created to meet the needs of a growing number of people wanting to start their own business.

Course developers recognized becoming an entrepreneur can be challenging, and they wanted to ensure kinship, guidance, and Indigenous values were embedded in the program – that’s where the Auntie in residence idea was born.

“Elders are significant and Aunties, are very important as well. And they work alongside with elders so for those people unfamiliar-Aunties are often 2nd parents, they’re role models, they’re often guiding us with a stern hand, a stern voice, but still offer that compassionate encouragement almost like a compass for in the community,” Ryan Jimmy, associate director of strategic initiatives at SIIT tells APTN News.

Requirements to be an Auntie for the program include being personable, nurturing and knowledgeable of Indigenous culture and having experience with entrepreneurship so they can offer advice to the students.

“(It’s)getting them ready for careers as self-employed entrepreneurs or innovators in a variety of different fields of study.  So maybe they’re coming from a mental health background but they want to explore entrepreneurship–this program will help them innovate in this field,” says Jimmy.

Eight people applied immediately for the job after it was posted online.  Students applying to the entrepreneurship program have been steady.

“We have the privilege and benefit of being an Indigenous institution that allows us to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into our curriculum design, while still meeting Western Industry Standards so that our students are going into their careers with the skills but also knowing who they are as Indigenous people.

SIIT is reviewing applications and will be hiring an Auntie by the end of the month. Miyoskamin launches Feb.14.

Leanne has a certificate in broadcasting and has more than 12 years of radio news experience, both as an anchor and reporter in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Métis journalist is a passionate writer and born storyteller and loves to connect with people and learn about their life experiences.