ᑖᓐ ᑳ ᐄᔑ ᒥᔅᑯᐧᐋᐦᑖᑲᓅᐦᒡ ᐙᔅᐙᓂᐲ
ALNA Report - Waswanipi
Waswanipi is a community with strong awareness and interest in adult education and training. The community is home to the Sabtuan Regional Vocational Training Centre (SRVTC), which provides high-quality training programs to students across Eeyou Istchee. Waswanipi also has a youthful population eager to explore opportunities for their future, with 66% of the population below the age of 35.
Waswanipi Eenouch embraced the Adult Learning Needs Assessment, with over one third of all adults between 15-45 participating in our surveys. Their responses indicated an engaged, vibrant community that values culture, families, and education.
With easy access to SRVTIC, an enthusiastic population, and growing economy, the future for adult education and training is bright in Waswanipi. We look forward to using this data to identify the strategies and services that will best support student success in the community.
The Adult Learning Needs Assessment surveyed 330 Waswanipi Eenouch.
Most of those surveyed (276 participants) were aged 15-45.
20 community members and 6 employers also participated in qualitative interviews.
This sample size provides us with a Waswanipi community members.and a , making the ALNA a very reliable source of data on
Waswanipi Eenouch value education
Almost all community members who took our surveys (99%) agreed with the statement “Education is important.” Respondents believed that adult education (94%) and post-secondary studies (89%) led to better jobs and a brighter financial future.
Interest in entrepreneurship is high
Although “Starting a Business” was a popular program across all communities, Waswanipi was the only community where the program was ranked as one of the top three programs. Interest was high for both male and female respondents.
Family support matters
Individuals with strong parental encouragement were about 2x more likely to complete post-secondary than those who did not have such encouragement at home. While family impact is critical in all communities, the correlation between family encouragement and educational success was stronger in Waswanipi than in all other inland communities.
Culturally relevant programs are in demand
All communities surveyed indicated a high demand for culturally relevant programs. In Waswanipi, the top two programs of interest were Cree Traditional Knowledge & Skills and Cree Culture & History. Cree language was listed as fourth most popular choice, and many of those interviewed also spoke to the importance of culturally relevant education.
Diploma completion rates show SRVTC’s impact
In Waswanipi, 72% of community members hold at least one type of diploma, and 21% have a Diploma of Vocational Studies. These rates are higher than the average across all communities. This indicates that Sabtuan Regional Vocational Training Centre (SRVTC) has significantly impacted the community. The community’s relatively high education level also impacts the level of interest in going back to school, which is slightly lower than neighbouring communities.
Community Education Profile
In Waswanipi, most adults have at least one type of diploma. Many adults in the community are also interested in pursuing further education; 81% of community members are interested in going back to school, with higher rates of interest for those without a diploma. Individuals in this community value education and most are encouraged by their parents to continue with schooling, increasing the level of motivation for community members.
About half the adults in this community (52%) had a linear educational pathway, meaning they did not interrupt their studies until they graduated. Those who experienced one or more interruptions in their educational journey were less likely to have completed a diploma. Disinterest and family responsibilities were the most common reasons people withdrew from school in Waswanipi.
Waswanipi adults see the value of vocational training and adult education; however. there are some challenges that may stand in the way of returning to school. Financial concerns, parenting responsibilities, self-esteem and disinterest in existing programs were all factors that came out of our surveys and interviews. SAES will use this data to identify services and strategies that respond directly to these challenges, allowing students to be successful.
The community education profile shows us where we are. Now, it’s time to find out where we can go from here.
Through our interviews and follow-up questions, we were able to identify success factors which impact current and prospective students in Waswanipi. Understanding these factors will help us to set up services and supports that help adults achieve their educational goals.
We also found out community members’ program interests, and discovered how these interests aligned with community/employer needs (by reviewing CENA results from Apatisiiwin Skills Development and interviewing employers). This will help us select and offer programs that will support the community’s future.
It is important to note that any strategy we build must have a strong cultural foundation and a plan for continuous community collaboration.
These all must be considered as we build a local adult education strategy for Waswanipi.
Student Success Factors
Teaching & School Environment
Ninety-nine percent (99%) of Waswanipi community members agreed with the statement “education is important.” Despite this fact, 52% of respondents said they withdrew from school at least once, most often in Secondary III or IV. Of these, 49% say that boredom and disinterest were among their main reasons for withdrawing. This data shows the importance of creating an engaging, inspiring environment for adult students. There are a few ways we can work to achieve this:
Quality teaching. Adult education students reported that their teachers were knowledgeable (93%), easy to communicate with (90%) and understanding of the Cree culture (78%). This plays an important role in their success.
My teachers motivated me at SAES. I just wanted to learn more like… I don’t know. It’s like I was hungry for that kind of class. It is also how they were teaching too. They were really great teachers.
The teachers, yeah, they were nice. Like I had a funny teacher and… he understood how you feel.
(In high school) my teachers are what I appreciated the most. My math teacher, English teacher, they were my favourite. My science teacher, he would explain in a way that nobody could. They helped me a lot in my schoolwork, and I guess that’s what made me more prepared for college.
Teachers are what I appreciated the most in high school. They were helpful.
Honestly, it was getting bad because kids in high school don’t listen anymore and teachers are quitting their jobs. Thinking about it now, my brother would always come home saying ‘I don’t have a teacher. There’s nothing to do‘.
For sure there was lack of teachers in a lot of our classes. Especially the math and science sector. We didn’t really have much support other than getting substitute teachers almost every day.
I really appreciated the Cree language in that high school. Cree Language and Cree Culture was one of the classes I really liked and the teachers were nice. They talk to you in Cree instead of English and French… it has kept me grounded. It’s something I feel that grounds me but I do not practice a lot of it.
(Cree culture) is represented at Sabtuan since they provide goose break and moose break. It helps keep the culture alive.
I’m pretty satisfied with how things are… I enjoy the hands-on classes, doing things I like to do.
Everyone’s friendly here.
They have free coffee. So, I wouldn’t have to run home to get coffee or water. They would help students when they need help. Teachers were nice.
- Implemented new recruitment strategies to support teacher hiring.
- Development of Cree-centric Teaching and Learning Framework.
- Expanded adult education team to include Coordinator of Student Success.
- Use new Cree-centric Teaching and Learning Framework to support culturally relevant practices in the classroom.
- Support initiatives aimed at training and recruiting Cree teachers.
- Increase services (counselling, special needs support, etc.) to support the needs of all students.
It’s your turn! What are other ways we can improve the learning experience for adult education students in Waswanipi? What are other ways we can improve the learning experience for adult education students in Waswanipi?
For most Waswanipi adults, family members have an extremely strong impact on educational success.
While all family members are important, the impact of parents is most evident from the ALNA data. Students who graduated with a university degree were significantly more likely have parental encouragement, compared to respondents with no degree:
Even in adulthood, family often play a role in an adult's decision to return to their studies:
My husband and my mom. I talked to them about going back to school. I told them I was thinking about it and they said ‘if you love it, do it. We’ll just be by your side. If you lose motivation, we’ll help you get back to it.'
My family encouraged me. Mostly my mom. They just told me to keep going. They encouraged me, and my mom helped me financially.
My girlfriend. There were times when I wanted to give up and then she kept like pushing me.
My parents supported me. We all finished in my family. They helped me move and they motivated me, like ‘you should go to school’.
I had children. That was the time my mother was sick too, so part of that I stayed home with her. Also, since I was under 18, I couldn’t be under welfare to pay my daycare expenses, so I stopped going to school.
My second child was born and I was missing class. They had to let me go, they were pretty strict.
I want to wait until my youngest starts kindergarten or grade 1 at least.
I had to wait until my kids were a little older.
- Financial assistance policy includes amounts for dependants.
- Public childcare coverage now included in financial assistance for parents of young children.
- General education teachers work to develop school schedules/ assignments that align with parents’ lives.
- Promote our new student finaincial assistance.
- Further consider family dynamics as part of our Wellness Services/student support services.
- Provide mentors for those without close family ties.
It’s your turn! How can you help students in your family feel supported and encouraged?
Personal Motivation & Goals
There are many outside influences, such as parents, teachers, and school environment, that can impact student success. In addition, the ALNA shows us that internal factors, like personal motivation and goal setting, are very important.
In our interviews, those who withdrew often did not have a clear goal in mind which required school. This made them less motivated to continue:
I lost interest. I thought I was going to take a year break [chuckles]. Next thing you know, I didn’t go back. I had work and took a break too long and it just didn’t seem like going back was possible.
Well, I mean I did the exam like maybe 4-5 times this math. I had a lot of difficulties to pass it and then, I had enough and I was like ‘ok, I’ll just walk away from this and try to look for something else. Because I know there’s a lot more things to do.’
I would like to be a counsellor in mental health. My goal will be to be helping others.
I am going back to school soon. I’m taking social services. My goal is to work here (in the community) to help families and their kids.
What motivated me (to stay in school) was that I wanted to do something for the community. So, try to come back with something to help the community anyway I can, with anything I can learn in school.
Heavy machinery was something I always wanted to do. I thought I’d give it a try and I am very much enjoying it.
- Ee-Es-Kwee-Dow (My Learning Plan) course for adult students.
- Adult Learner Day/Creative showcase organized to celebrate students.
- Hiring of new Counsellors to help students with plan, set goals, and build personal skills.
- Improve use and follow-up of Learning Plans.
- Increase linkages with health board to support students with challenges.
It’s your turn! How can you motivate others and help them set goals for the future?
Job & Financial Considerations
For those enrolled in school, financial concerns can have a significant impact in their engagement. Forty-seven percent (47%) of community members who withdrew from education at some point said that needing a job to provide financial support was a factor.
Even years after leaving school, finances continue to impact decision-making. When we surveyed respondents who did not intend to go back to school, nearly half (49%) said they were hesitant because they need to support their family financially.
Is there something preventing me from going back to school? My truck payments [chuckles], my bills. That’s pretty much it, yeah.
Life is in the way [laughs] I guess… work, car payments and stuff.
I thought about my future… without a diploma, I wouldn’t be able to go far. Not many doors would be open for me. So, that’s why I got my diploma.
The program I took was for a job in demand so to speak. I knew if I graduated, I’d be able to have a job in the community. Either here or for the band.
- Student Financial Assistance launched in 2020. Signed partnership agreement with Apatisiiwin Skills Development (ASD).
- Working with Cree Board of Health to offer direct-to-employment vocational programs.
- Increase collaboration with employers (ex. customized trainings).
- Work with Apatisiiwin Skills Development on joint initiatives.
- Increase awareness of Financial Assistance program.
It’s your turn! What else could help eliminate financial barriers to education in Waswanipi?
Many potential adult education students in Waswanipi are interested in deepening their cultural knowledge and skills., with the majority showing interest in culturally relevant programs. This interest aligns with our internal priorities at Sabtuan Adult Education Services, as we are working to both offer more culture/language programs and to increase the cultural relevance of all programs and services.
Entrepreneurship is also a key interest for adults in Waswanipi. Along with considering entrepreneurial programs like "Starting a Business” and “Construction Business Management,” we can also support this interest by discussing entrepreneurial career paths in all vocational programs and goal-setting services.
The remaining program selections aligned very much with the jobs employers shared with in most demand. This is not surprising - community members are aware of the types of jobs available in the community, and often gravitate to fields where they know there is a great deal of opportunity. It is encouraging to see that there are several programs that both interest community members and meet these community needs.
We need people that have a vocational degree... We need also sometimes people with a technical degree, a DEC. And also we need some more local entrepreneurs. - Public entity
By combining community member data with employer feedback from Apatisiiwin Skills Developments’ CENA study, we were able to identify the highest-demand programs in Waskaganish at present. This list of programs is by no means comprehensive, nor is it an official list of programs we are committed to offering. Other considerations, like feasibility of offering the program locally and the cultural component, will also be considered.
The Adult Learning Needs Assessment considered data from Apatisiiwin Skills Development (ASD)’s Community Employment Needs Assessment (CENA) in its program analysis. We also interviewed employers to follow up on the data. If you would like further information on the employment outlook in Waswanipi, please contact ASD.
While many Waswanipi adults are open to traveling for short periods to continue their education, some preferred to remain in their community. Overall, 26% of community members say they would only consider a program if it was offered in their community. On the other hand, about the same percentage (25%) would be willing to actually live in another community to pursue their studies.
(I would like to finish my) secondary V diploma. Someone graduated here using the Internet and so I’m trying to find out how you do that. That’s what I'm interested in. Online schooling, would be good.
Another way to provide education is through technology. If a program of interest was not offered in their community, 71% of respondents would be open to taking a course online. Most people preferred a combination of online learning and in-person access to a teacher for questions. As Sabtuan Adult Education Services has significantly increased its digital capacity over the past year, these are options we could explore to serve more students. Internet quality and access to learning technologies would need to be further explored if offering these options.
More information on program delivery can be found in the Community Education Profile.
Note: ALNA data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. Online learning readiness may have been impacted by recent events.
To best serve your community, Sabtuan Adult Education Services needs to fully understand your experiences, clarify your needs, and make decisions informed by your reality.
That is what the Adult Learning Needs Assessment is all about. The data collected through this initiative will help us make decisions and offer programs/services that truly reflect the goals and interests of community members. This information will be considered in all aspects of our growth and decision-making:
ALNA data will be used to select the local programs which will have the greatest impact.
Approach & Delivery
The ALNA will not only influence what we teach, but how we teach it. Understanding student preferences and values will help us build a more responsive, culturally relevant adult education system.
With a stronger understanding of student motivations and student success factors, we can put measures in place to better support adult students.
Partnerships & Community Relations
The ALNA data gives us insight into which partnerships and community relations approaches will help us to best serve and connect with the community on an ongoing basis.