1300 Indigenous students supported through Indspire partnership

17 May 2017

Rio Tinto and Indspire had celebrated the accomplishments of this year’s recipients of the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students in Ottawa.

The $2 million, 5 year partnership between Rio Tinto, Indspire, and the Canadian government provides academic bursaries to support higher education for Indigenous students.

More than 1300 students have so far received support through the Award since 2015, with some the latest recipients recognised at a celebration in Ottawa last night.

The Award is available to First Nations, Inuit and Metis students across Canada, with a particular emphasis on those pursuing post-secondary education and training from the communities where Rio Tinto operates.

Desiree Louis, a Stellat’en First Nations student from British Columbia who was amongst the recipients recognized at last night’s celebration, said "The folks at Indspire and Rio Tinto have heard me and believe in me, the way that my community and relatives believe in me. For this I am more motivated, driven, and determined to succeed and do as much good as I can."

Desiree will be starting her Bachelor of Science in the fall at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on natural resource conservation.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said "At Rio Tinto we know just how critical education is to the success of the communities where we work, and to the success of our business. I look forward to one day working alongside the students we support today."

President and CEO of Indspire Roberta Jamieson said "The Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students is welcome support to assist the country’s fastest growing demographic to achieve their potential through education and training. This will enable Indigenous youth to pursue meaningful work, and contribute to their communities and Canada’s economic well-being."

Indigenous students can apply for financial support through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures program, which administers the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students. Students must be enrolled in full time post-secondary studies or full time/part time apprentice, skilled trades, and technology programs. The deadline to apply for the September 2017-August 2018 academic year is August 1, or November 1. 

For more information

About the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students
In 2015 Rio Tinto partnered with Indspire through a CAD $1 million contribution to establish the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students. That award was matched by the Canadian government for a total of CAD $2 million over five years in academic bursaries to support higher education. 2017 marks the third year of the partnership.

The Government of Canada is a proud sponsor of Indspire and invested an additional $5 million per year for the next five years in Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards program.

About Indspire
Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire disburses financial awards, delivers programmes, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. Through the K-12 Indspire Institute, it provides resources to educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth. In 2015-16 Indspire disbursed over $12.2 million through 3,792 bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous students, making it the largest funder of Indigenous education outside the federal government. Each year, the organization presents the Indspire Awards, a gala celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people that is broadcast nationally.

Rio Tinto in Canada
With more than 15,000 people working at over 35 sites and operations, Rio Tinto is the largest mining and metals business operating in Canada. Rio Tinto’s extensive operations in Canada include mining and manufacturing interests in alumina, aluminium, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide, as well as exploration activities, research and development centres, port and rail facilities, and hydroelectric facilities in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia.