Nick Allard in front of the Health Canada building in Ottawa.

The transition from school to work can be difficult for new graduates. Entering the competitive job market with little work experience is a hurdle new Métis graduates often face, but with assistance can overcome. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) provides a variety of programs and services to help Métis people overcome such barriers and achieve their highest potential. These programs help Métis people advance their education and careers through funding and work placements.

Nick Allard, originally from Sault Ste. Marie, is one example of one young MNO citizen who has experienced firsthand the benefits of MNO’s education and training programs. Currently residing in Ottawa, Allard is a Senior Regulatory Affairs Officer for Health Canada. A position he believes would have been difficult to achieve without the assistance of the MNO.

While completing the process to obtain MNO citizenship in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Allard inquired about MNO education and training programs. That’s when Fran Sheepmaker, a MNO Regional Employment and Training Coordinator informed him about two MNO programs that would create the transition from university to work much easier. Sheepmaker is one of many MNO employees across Ontario whose job is to assist Métis like Allard.

Working with Sheepmaker, Allard approached the Sault Area Hospital with the concept of creating a summer internship through MNO’s Summer Career Placement Program. MNO was able to provide the funding to subsidize the wage and make the idea of the position into a reality. In the summer of his fourth year in the Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Waterloo, Allard moved back to Sault Ste. Marie to begin this new internship as a Research Intern.

“The program helped me quite a bit,” explained Allard. “It gave me a lot of hands on experience in clinical research and helped me see into the industry and essentially where I wanted to go with my career.”

The experience gained through this internship did not only confirm Allard’s career path, but also provided essential real life work experience which proved useful when applying for graduate studies.

“Having this experience on my resume really helped me in the interview process after graduation,” said Allard. “It intrigued a lot of employers and brought in more interviews. It also was essential to getting accepted into my post-secondary program in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs at Seneca College.”

This was not the only way the MNO helped Allard achieve his second diploma. Through the MNO Métis Training Purchase Program, the MNO provided funding which paid for his year’s tuition and also assisted with his living expenses, which in Toronto can be quite high.

“This diploma was critical,” explained Allard. “It is what got me my internship with Health Canada and after graduating and I was bridged in to the position I hold today. Without MNO’s assistance it would have been much more difficult to get this position, a position which I love and is exactly what I wanted to do.”

Allard sees MNO’s programs as a real benefit not only for himself but for other Métis youth. He concluded by saying:

“Thank you MNO for helping me establish my career path. MNO’s programs played a key role in my education and finding employment afterwards. I would like to encourage other Métis youth to look into and take advantage of these programs because they help provide funding and invaluable career experience.”