Indigenous youth find hidden talent in robotic program - APTN NewsAPTN News

Indigenous youth find hidden talent in robotic program

Brittany Hobson
APTN National News
Armed with a new set of skills six Indigenous youth are ready to share their knowledge. All thanks to robots.

First Peoples Development Inc. teamed up with Cogmation Robotics to create a program to educate kids from remote communities.

Students first learn how to be build and program a robot. They then share what they’ve learned with First Nations in Manitoba.

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken a half dozen Aboriginal youth who had no previous computer programming experience and mentored them intensely for a five-week period,” said Chris Schulz, program manager of Cogmation Robotics. “Now they’re actually able to teach others about how this works and be an inspiration and a role model to other people in different communities.”

The program began three years ago as a way to show remote communities different employment opportunities.

“The hidden talents (are) there that they didn’t know they had. So we just like to hope that we bring something to help them. Having these instructors they open our eyes to what is there,” said Ethel Anderson, president of First Peoples Development Inc.

Using Lego models, participants learn the ins and outs of software development with an emphasis on coding.

“My favourite thing now is I’m excited to go into the communities and teaching other kids and other people,” said Lisa Harper, graduate of Aboriginal Robotics Program.

Instructors will visits 16 communities throughout northern Manitoba starting this week wrapping up in December.

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