First Nations Government Internship

Program overview

BC First Nations have a connection to place based on thousands of years of history. Like many small local governments, many First Nations in the north face challenges recruiting and retaining staff to support leadership in achieving community goals. In response to this need, Northern Development Initiative Trust, in partnership with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the University of Northern British Columbia has established the First Nations Government Internship Program. This program is meant to parallel the success of Northern Development’s existing Local Government Internship Program by allowing rural, indigenous communities to recruit and retain talented young professionals in the north.

This internship program recognizes and builds on the education, training and career opportunities that exist in central and northern British Columbia communities. The program prepares young people for an exciting career in First Nations government, while supporting capacity building and succession preparation for retiring senior staff in smaller, indigenous communities. The internship program provides funding for central and northern First Nations governments or Tribal Councils to host and mentor an intern for a 12 month period with the internships starting in May of each year.

One of the goals of the internship program is to provide insight into the wide range of rewarding careers available within First Nations government. Careers include opportunities in management and administration, corporate services, planning and development services, environmental services, finance, human resource, public works, external relations and membership engagement, health, education and economic development. The internship program promises to provide a high level of professional development and training that will prepare university graduates for more senior leadership roles in First Nations government. It will give them the knowledge and experience they need to take the next step in a fulfilling and satisfying career, as well as contacts within regional communities to assist in finding a permanent position.

Program objectives

  • To act as a pathway to accelerate operational learning and permanent placement into professional careers in First Nations government.
  • To build professional and institutional development capacity in First Nations government administration in central and northern B.C.
  • To make First Nations government a career of choice by financially supporting internship opportunities for post-secondary graduates.
  • To allow for the flexibility of learning experiences where First Nations governments wish to jointly offer a placement for an intern.
  • To allow communities under 1,500 population with challenging recruiting locations to provide management internships at the same time that post-secondary courses in First Nations government and public administration are being completed.


Academic criteria:

  • Undergraduate students are eligible if they have completed a Bachelor’s degree within the previous two years of the proposed start date of the internship. Students graduating in May are eligible. Preference will be given to candidates in the following degree programs: First Nations studies, Northern studies, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Public Administration and Community Development, and Geography; Bachelor of Planning; Bachelor of Commerce. Undergraduate students can use the internship as a way of completing their co-op terms, as long as they have completed all the other requirements of their degree program prior to starting the internship.
  • Graduate students are eligible if they are enrolled in or have recently completed a Master’s degree program.
  • Diploma and Certificate students are eligible if they have completed a two year diploma or public administration certificate/First Nations Public Administration Certificate by the proposed start date of the internship.

Other required criteria:

  • Willingness to relocate.
  • Work, educational or volunteer-related references.
  • Valid B.C. driver’s license.
  • Ability to work in Canada for duration of the internship.
  • Satisfactory criminal reference check (to be undertaken by First Nations government upon selection of intern).

Note: individuals already permanently employed in First Nation administrations or Tribal Councils are not eligible to apply for the internship program. Seasonal and auxiliary employees of First Nations or Tribal Councils are permitted to apply.

To apply

Interested internship candidates can email their completed application package to