(This story is sponsored by Native Education College.)
The ideal learning environment for every student should feel safe, inclusive, and welcoming. At Vancouver-based Native Education College (NEC), Indigenous learners are able to participate in activities within a space that strengthens identity, builds community, and embraces cultural perspectives.
NEC provides a secure place where Indigenous people can explore holistic learning, which brings together emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects.
This specific type of education has been a longstanding need for many Indigenous people in Canada. The NEC has been fulfilling this, inviting generations of family members to attend activities and events hosted at the Longhouse over the last 55 years.
Non-Indigenous learners are also welcome at the traditional space that’s located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. The Longhouse features an inimitable totem pole created by Norman Tait, a renowned Northwest Coast carver.
The college prioritizes the celebration and acknowledgement of the local host Nations: Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ). Collaborating with these Nations through events, cultural celebrations, and teachings is exceedingly important to NEC’s faculty and students.
“NEC’s approach to learning is to create a sense of belonging for all students,” says Kim Bayer, the Family Violence Resource Coordinator and counsellor at the college. “Relationships based on respect and humility is part of NEC’s core values, along with creating a holistic learning environment that’s not just about the curriculum. We deeply care about students’ overall health and well-being during their journey with us.”
At NEC, students can expect to connect with their instructors in ways that will benefit them inside and outside of the college. Its faculty members are genuinely invested in each student and provide continuous support through the multitude of activities and opportunities for involvement. Indigenous learners are invited to participate in campuswide events, share meals, and celebrate with all staff on a regular basis.
When a student joins NEC, they’re welcomed into a community that values respect, diversity, gratitude, and understanding. Events like Elders’ Day, the Welcoming Ceremony, Winter Gathering, Staff and Student Picnic, and more, forge meaningful connections between those who teach and learn at the college.
In terms of programs, NEC offers academic upgrading, along with a variety of courses that can spark creativity and inspire a profession.
Students can enroll in certificate courses that teach business essentials, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, and jewellery making. The college also has a one-day customer service workshop for those working within the Indigenous tourism industry. For a full list of programs, click here.
Students who attend courses and events at NEC aren’t limited to gaining a set of academic skills. They will also learn more about their personal values and how they may want to pursue their chosen profession.
For more information, visit www.necvancouver.org/.