New support for Indigenous engineering students at U of S

SASKATOON - A new industry partnership to support Indigenous engineering students with summer work placements and tuition assistance has been established by the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) is the first partner to join the college in the Indigenous Peoples Industry Partnership Program.

"This program is a core component of the support and engagement initiatives our college is developing for Indigenous students," said Aaron Phoenix, associate dean academic at the College of Engineering. "We are thrilled that PotashCorp is our first industry partner in the program and look forward to working with them and getting more students involved."

There are already two students in the program who worked for PotashCorp over the summer of 2015 as a pilot for the program. The pilot was successful and today the college and PotashCorp will sign an agreement to formalize the arrangement. While one of the students is graduating this spring, the other is continuing in the program with PotashCorp and will work for the company again this summer.

"It's a priority for PotashCorp to build a skilled, diverse workforce and that means we want to connect with Aboriginal students and encourage them to consider careers with us," said Mark Fracchia, president, PCS Potash. "This partnership with the College of Engineering is particularly exciting as it will help us support and mentor Aboriginal engineering students, who are needed by our industry and our province."

"The partnership is an excellent way to support students - not only financially, but by providing an opportunity to gain direct experience," said Rowan Spetz, a fourth-year civil engineering student from Martensville who worked with PotashCorp in the summer of 2015 and is set to work with the company again this year.

Through the program, the college will help facilitate partnerships between students and corporations and will provide guidance. Students will work as summer employees for participating corporations in exchange for funds that they can use towards tuition and living expenses. Participating corporations will also provide an employee mentor to students during their work experiences.

The program will provide Indigenous students with funds, valuable work experience and important industry connections that will enhance their engineering studies and lay the groundwork for excellent opportunities after graduation. In addition to developing employment relationships, industry partners will play a significant role in developing the skills and knowledge of participating Indigenous students prior to graduation.


For more information, contact:

Kate Blau, Communications Officer
College of Engineering
University of Saskatchewan


Randy Burton
Director, Public Relations and Communications
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.
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