The FPIC has adapted the FabLab model developed at MIT in 2002 so that it can be transposed into an Indigenous context. The goal was to make the FabLab a place that recreates social ties where generations and genders mingle as well as professions. Thanks to ESDC funding from, the FPIC was able to create the Onaki FabLab, the very first Indigenous FabLab in Canada (Onaki means Roots in Anishinabeg). Since then, the First Peoples Innovation Centre has been able to support 7 cohorts of 16 participants and supports an 8th cohort made up of Indigenous young people aged 15 to 30. These young people were able to benefit from a 5-month stay (4 months of training and 1 month of internship) at the Onaki FabLab in Gatineau. The success rate of the program reached more than 76%, that is to say that more than 76% of young Indigenous people completed the program and subsequently entered the world of employment, returned to the studies or started their own business. Given the results achieved, the FPIC receives more and more requests from Indigenous communities.
The Onaki FabLab in Gatineau presents itself as a successful initiative where it trains 2 cohorts of 16 young Indigenous people per year, for a total of 32 participants annually.
- Digital training
- Arduino programming,
- 3D printing,
- Laser cutting,
- Vinyl cutting,
- Digital milling machines,
- Digital embroidery…).
- Employment training:
- Business mentoring,
- Generic skills,
- Preparation for employment (CV, cover letter, etc.).
- Pride in identity enhancement sessions:
- Reconnection to cultural identity (talking circles, discussion, film, meetings, visiting elders).
- Traditional Indigenous art workshops (making drums, canoes, traditional crafts, woodworking, etc.)
1 month internship
The workplace internship allows young Indigenous people to showcase the skills they have acquired, particularly digital skills in this era of skilled labour shortages. The FPIC is mapping regional businesses using digital technology in order to build a pool of employers directly interested in digital skills.