A new diploma from the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business will provide a quicker way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike to pursue a career in Indigenous business and governance.
The Indigenous Governance and Business Management (IGBM) diploma is one of only a small few Indigenous business diplomas in Canada, as well as the first diploma in the country that focuses on both Indigenous business and governance. It will give students an Indigenous perspective on business management, community development, governance and entrepreneurship, and prepare learners for careers in a variety of sectors, both off- and on-reserve, in as little as two years.
Dean of the Dhillon School of Business, Dr. Kerry Godfrey, says the diploma was created because of the significant market demand in Canada for graduates with a solid understanding of Indigenous economic and cultural issues who also possess a strong business foundation.
“Between 2006 and 2016, the Indigenous population grew at four times the rate of the non-Indigenous population in Canada and is significantly younger than the general population,” says Godfrey. “For the new, up-and-coming workforce, business training, with a strong focus on Indigenous business and governance topics, is in demand and offers significant opportunities for graduates to meet the growing need in both private and public employment spheres.”
Dhillon School of Business student, Nathan Crow, currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Management degree program with a major in IGBM, agrees that having a skillset related to Indigenous governance is a rewarding choice.
“Since the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action and the implementation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), many organizations are not sure what to do next,” says Crow. “I feel this is where someone like myself, or someone who has completed the IGBM program, would bring value.”
Crow adds he particularly likes the way the Dhillon School of Business’ IGBM courses equip students with traditional business management skills such as project management, accounting, economics and more, and adds an Indigenous lens.
“I like the fact that the IGBM program is forward thinking. Rather than focusing solely on the past and historical issues, the IGBM program provides a way to utilize Indigenous ways of knowing in a career.”
The 20-course diploma is taught by Indigenous faculty and will ladder into the Dhillon School of Business’ Bachelor of Management. Possible careers for graduates of the diploma include Indigenous agreements analyst, corporate consultation and community liaison, Indigenous engagement officer, Indigenous relations advisor, economic development officer, business manager and external relations officer.
The Dhillon School of Business was the first business school in Canada to offer an Indigenous business management program, and celebrates nearly 40 years of educational programming in Indigenous business development and administration. Its offerings include an Indigenous Governance and Business Management degree, a post-diploma degree-route, the new diploma and a certificate.
More information on the IGBM diploma can be found here.