School of Social Work and Human Services

Support Aboriginal youth

Support Aboriginal youth

Nothing is as transformational in the school career of an Aboriginal youth as a dedicated support worker who acts as an advocate and role model.

UFV’s two-year Aboriginal Culture and Language Support (ACLS) diploma prepares you to work in the school system to assist Aboriginal youth to succeed and discover who they are.

As part of the program, you learn Halq'eméylem, the language of the Stó:lō people, gain counseling skills, and develop your ability to support a learner's development. Instructors with an in-depth knowledge of Aboriginal history and world views teach you to implement programming, promote indigenous culture, and help Aboriginal youth overcome challenges, such as social pressures, family issues, or socioeconomic inequalities.

In your second year, a supervised practicum placement gives you the opportunity to practice in-class theory, gain work experience, receive valuable feedback, and build relationships with potential employers.

Not many post-secondary institutions in B.C. offer this culturally relevant program. As a graduate, you are among the exclusive few who possess this specialized set of skills.

The ACLS diploma program ladders into the Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC), a teaching certificate approved by the BC College of Teachers as a requirement to teach Halq'eméylem in elementary schools. You can also opt to continue your studies at UFV to earn a degree in General Studies, Social Work, or Arts. As a third option, you may also choose to pursue a Bachelor of Education program.

Career Outlook

A recent report from the Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards estimates that more than $170-billion could be added to Canada's economy by 2026 if Aboriginal youth achieved the same education levels as other Canadians.

That’s why Canada is funding initiatives to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal youth. Currently there are approximately 5,000 Aboriginal students in kindergarten through grade 12 in the eastern Fraser Valley. And the numbers are growing.

School districts that employ Aboriginal Support Workers have seen their graduation rates double — and in some cases, even triple — showing the tremendous impact targeted support can have on Aboriginal youth and their communities.