Indigenous Ecotourism Training Program - January to August 2021

Join the 6th annual Indigenous Ecotourism Training Program, combining academic, place-based, and experiential learning to provide you certifiable skills and knowledge in the Indigenous Tourism sector and enhance your employment opportunities!


January 17 - August 31, 2021


North Island College, Vancouver Island University & Heiltsuk Tribal Council



The seven-month Indigenous Ecotourism Training Program is designed to give you certified skills for employment within British Columbia's rapidly growing Indigenous Tourism sector, while benefitting from an applied learning experience that provides you a Certificate in Adventure Tourism and Recreation to those who successfully complete all the courses. Courses will be delivered in a hybrid model (online and face-2-face). Participants are brought together each month for 6-10 days to complete course work. 

  • Develop certifications and field skills in sea kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, interpretation, leadership, risk management, wilderness first aid, and more. 
  • Learn about the tourism sector, including the design and delivery of experiences that are sensitive to environment and cultural considerations. 
  • Experience coastal British Columbia through place-based approach to training by travelling to and learning in communities involved in Indigenous Ecotourism. 
  • Qualify for a Certificate in Adventure Tourism and Recreation from Vancouver Island University, and credits towards North Island College's Adventure Guiding certificate and Tourism Management Diploma, all of which can lead to further degree-level studies.
  • Tuition fees, learning resources, travel and accommodations during course delivery are covered and additional travel may be supported. 

To hear previous students experiences, please visit:

Program Outline 

There is funding for one cohort delivery: Start January 2021 and complete August 2021 (dates subject to change with COVID-19). 

Outline of Courses 

  • Guiding Skills 1 and 2 
  • Field Specialty: Paddling Skills 1 and 2 
  • Introduction to Tourism 
  • Heritage Interpretation in Tourism 
  • First Host 
  • Wilderness First Aid 
  • VHF Restricted Operator Certification 
  • Internship and Preparation 
  • Sustainability in Tourism 
  • Planning for Tourism and Indigenous Community Economic Development 
  • Tourism Marketing 

For more information about each course, please view Course Brochure

Each course is applied learning in a hybrid format; online and face-2-face. Place-based learning will include trips to the following locations (dates and locations subject to change)

  1. Tofino/Ucluelet Region: January 17-26, 2021 
  2. Comox Valley Region: February 21-March 1, 2021 
  3. Nanaimo Region: March 5 - 13, 2021
  4. Sunshine Coast Region: April 11 - 20, 2021 
  5. Port Alberni Region/Bamfield: May 2 - 11, 2021 
  6. Victoria Region: May 14 - 22, 2021 
  7. Internship for 8 weeks/June - August 2021 

Students will be on their Internship from June to August. Each course is applied learning in a place-based format and delivered in a compressed model. Students that are under 35 will qualify for a scholarship that will provide a living allowance. 

Applicants are eligible from the following Nations:

Heiltsuk First Nation, Ahousaht First Nation, Kwikasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation, Namgis First Nation, Homalco First Nation, Dzawada'enuxw First Nation. 

Course Brochure 

Application Form 


-Participants must be Indigenous, living on Vancouver Island/Coast or Central Coast regions, and at least 19 years. -Graduation from a B.C. secondary school, or equivalent, with a minimum "C" grade in either English 12 or English 12 First Peoples; or mature student at least 21 years with English 12 or English 12 First Peoples.

Course fee:

Free - this program is fully funded

How to register:

Submit the attached application form, and a resume complete with a cover letter explaining why you are suited for the program and outline future career goals. Include 2 letters of reference that highlights your suitability for the program; preference of one letter from one Indigenous organization and/or contact within or associated with an Indigenous program. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program. 

Submit applications with resume and references to: 

Y. Kathy Brown at 250-957-8464 or email 

Pam Botterill at 250-618-6548 or email