Transforming Career & Cultural Exploration

January 17, 2023 The Sharing Circle

Entering the world of work is a completely different experience for everyone. It can depend on many factors including their background, education, and interests. For example, someone who grew up with access to educational resources and the opportunity for career exploration would have a leg up from those who didn’t have that available to them. Not only is figuring out the right career a challenging task but it’s difficult to know where to start. What are the right questions to ask? Who should you be asking them to? How do you know what a job will really be like?

These were questions that I was faced with and have been very fortunate in not only discovering how to go about answering them but how the answers have shaped my journey in my own career and how that experience inspired the mission and vision behind ORIGIN.

What inspired the start of ORIGIN?

I grew up on a reserve, just outside a small town. As a teenager, when I was asked what I wanted to do as a career, I felt my only choices were the ones that sat directly in front of me. Teacher, hairdresser, nurse, police officer, or work in my community at the Band Office. My blinders were on without even knowing it. I knew I had interests outside of these options but I didn’t know or witness anyone going away to school or moving away to follow their career path.

I’m not sure I would say that this mindset was taught, it was the norm. I remember being told from a guidance counsellor that I wouldn’t make it in certain fields I was interested in. They would say, “if you wanted to do something like that well…you’d need to move to a big city far away for education and even then, there isn’t any opportunities in our area for that”. To think that advice was given and in turn, naturally, those out of the box career goals felt totally unrealistic and unattainable. That is exactly why I chose to become an entrepreneur who strives to bring as many opportunities to our people as possible.

“To think that advice was given and in turn, naturally, those out of the box career goals felt totally unrealistic and unattainable. That is exactly why I chose to become an entrepreneur who strives to bring as many opportunities to our people as possible.”

Youth using a CAT Heavy Equipment simulator

Youth testing out our Heavy Equipment Operator simulator!

The evolution of ORIGIN

ORIGIN’s roots are grounded in workforce development and training. The company was founded in 2008 as a workforce development agency with the goal of helping individuals connect purpose to career. We recognized a need within communities for resources surrounding career exploration and development. These resources needed to be able to reach communities everywhere and remain functional in remote settings. ORIGIN introduced CAT Heavy Equipment simulator training and hit the road with our mobile classroom simulator trailer! After seeing the success people were able to achieve through this style of training, we knew we needed to continue to expand to provide more opportunity for different types of careers.

Today, our vision is to advance economic reconciliation for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Our team is highly experienced working in community and has a genuine understanding of what works most effectively in the career exploration process.

So, what are the right questions to ask to learn more about potential careers?

Truthfully, there are no wrong questions per se. Asking questions is an amazing way to expand what you know about certain careers and it provides the opportunity to learn from different perspectives. Consider aspects like the physical requirements, educational requirements, day to day activities and schedule of different positions.

Keep in mind that just because something isn’t a fit for one person, doesn’t mean it won’t be a great fit for you!

Indigenous Culture and Personality Dimensions

Two youth sitting with Oculus headsets on in front of an ORIGIN pull up banner.

Career and Cultural exploration with ImmersiveLink at a school career fair.

This leads me to a key part of finding a career that aligns with you. Our team believes in starting from within. In other words, its important to have a good understanding of who you are. This includes your strengths, weaknesses, values, culture and other factors that may impact the type of career you excel in. Culture and the aspects of someone’s personality are deeply connected. Therefore, celebrating and integrating Indigenous culture is at the core of what we do. Our ImmersiveLink Cultural VR library hosts a series of teachings taught by knowledge keepers that allow for cultural experiences to be explored and celebrated.

Having a better understanding of oneself and feeling a deeper connection to your culture instils a sense of pride and confidence that’s unmatched. Once you have built this foundation, you will be able to better apply what you are able to learn from others in different careers and see what it might look like for you.

You might be thinking, that’s great but what if I don’t have someone to ask? Or how will I know what the job is really like?

When people talk to you about their job, it most likely is at a high level. You probably aren’t getting the small details about the day-to-day activities or what their worksites look like. While these may seem like small pieces, they can have a huge impact on your experience.

This is why we created ImmersiveLink (IL). We wanted to transform the way people were able to learn about careers. IL is one of the many tools that we use to allow individuals to explore career opportunities. ImmersiveLink Careers is a virtual reality platform that captures the day-to-day activities. It includes a variety of careers and shows the perspectives of different individuals on site.

Having content accessible in this format provides resources that can be used by many and breaks down geographical barriers. Individuals don’t have to travel or get access to a worksite they might not otherwise have been able to see. They can hear firsthand, day-to-day activities, what paths they can take to get there and the perks of the role.

Breaking down these barriers and creating an accessible way to prepare for your job search is essential. Having supports in place to help you set career goals is exactly what we want to provide to individuals. We offer a variety of workshops in professional development, job readiness, Personality Dimensions and more to create a well-rounded foundation. There are also workshops that pair with our ImmersiveLink system to provide a look into job sites. We would love to come to your community and work with individuals who are at any part of their career journey and help support them in reaching their full potential! To learn more about specific workshop offerings, click here.

Let’s work. Together.