In 2016, the TPC completed a Baseline Assessment study of Yukon First Nation self-government employees and their training needs. This report is intended to further Yukon First Nation capacity development and training initiatives by establishing a starting point for current best practices and challenges, and highlighting points for consideration and further discussion with governments and training organizations. If you would like to obtain a copy of the report or schedule a presentation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective of the study was to answer the following questions:
1. Who are Yukon First Nation workers?
2. What is the workload of Yukon First Nation workers?
3. What are the stresses related to job descriptions and work expectations of Yukon First Nation workers?
4. What are the major challenges to training and professional development for Yukon First Nation workers?
Some highlights of the report include:
1. Training content for Yukon First Nation government workers needs to be delivered within a Yukon First Nation cultural context.
2. There are workplace realities that impact training success:
- Crisis management is a workplace reality for most Yukon First Nation government workers. It is a factor that can diminish the mental health or well-being of staff members. It can negatively affect or impact on-site training initiatives.
- Yukon First Nation employees’ workloads can be overwhelming, directly impacting stress levels and the mental health of staff members, making training less appealing.
- Fostering a safe work environment is a constant challenge for Yukon First Nation governments. The reality of lateral violence, favouritism, and difficulty in enforcing office protocols can impact productivity, stability and how employees assess their self-worth.
- For training to be successful, it is crucial the study’s findings about Literacy and Essential Skills are addressed.
3. Understanding how First Nation people learn, how they retain information and how they pass knowledge on, is critical for developing training courses, workshops and delivery models that will yield high success rates.
4. Yukon First Nation workers need to have access to on-going support once they have attended a course.
- Yukon First Nation people learn best by listening, seeing, and then doing for themselves.
- Training delivered using exclusively the western model of learning, can negatively impact retention levels and the successful application of new skills.
- Applying new skills is not always easy because once Yukon First Nation workers return to the community the demands on their time can make it impossible to use the new systems or skills they have learned. This can trigger feelings of frustration and elevate stress levels.
5. There is a need for First Nation mentors and advisors to guide a stronger training implementation process.
In 2016, the TPC contracted a literature review of Indigenous nation rebuilding, which took a comprehensive look at what has been written about the process of rebuilding nations, including the essential training areas, and what are the best training models and approaches for Yukon First Nations to adapt and use. The intention was also to have a final document which would provide First Nations with easy access to well-researched rationale they can reference when planning training and applying for funding.
The Yukon First Nation self-government agreements have awarded First Nations the power to create modern governance structures in a way that is more in-line with their traditions and culture. However, there are still significant barriers to implementing these self-governing agreements. One of the barriers is the lack of knowledge regarding the essential components of nation-building and how this knowledge can be adapted to unique Indigenous societies to foster ownership over the process. Another barrier is determining exactly the types of training techniques and models that can be used to empower these communities to fully actualize the nations they envision.
This literature review attempts to break down these barriers by exploring the following three areas:
1. Essential Training Areas for Nation Rebuilding
2. Training Needs Assessment Approaches
3. Training Approaches
Section 1: Essential Training Areas for Nation Rebuilding
The first section of this literature review outlines five essential training areas for nation rebuilding that are adaptable to the YFN context. They focus on the areas in which tradition can be combined with modern ways to create First Nations capable of achieving their visions and overcoming the challenges stemming from years of oppression. The five areas include:
1. Governance: Strategic Vision and Planning, Accountability, Legitimacy, Financial Management, Evaluation, and Justice
2. Economic Development: Land and Resource Development and Informal Economy
3. Capital: Human Capital, Social Capital, and Cultural Capital
4. Leadership: Elders and Institutions
5. Community Engagement: Youth Engagement
Section 2: Training Needs Assessment Approaches
The second section outlines approaches to assessing training needs that are adaptable to a Yukon First Nation context and have been effective in similar Indigenous contexts. It goes into detail on each of the following approaches, including case studies, successes, and lessons learned:
1. Strengths Based Approach
2. Community-Led Development
3. GIS Mapping
Section 3: Training Approaches
This third section aims to equip Yukon First Nations with ideas to design innovative and meaningful training plans and programs. This section of the report includes case studies of how the following training approaches have been successfully used in other Indigenous communities.
1. Competency-Based Training
2. Adaptive Leadership
3. Training of the Trainer
5. Life Coaching
7. Participatory Training