Inspiring Success - Scholarship helps offset travel costs to B.C. for Alberta student


By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Patrick Twinn NIEEFThough he already has a post-secondary diploma, a degree and a decent job, Patrick Twinn is continuing to further his education.

Twinn, a member of Alberta’s Sawridge First Nation, is currently working on his Master of Business Administration in Indigenous Business and Leadership through Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University (SFU).

“For me the journey of learning is never ending,” said Twinn, a 33-year-old who lives in Edmonton. “I want to keep supporting Indigenous communities in any capacity I can.”

Twinn incurs some hefty costs to be part of the SFU program. While he is able to complete many of his necessary readings and assignments at home, the program requires him to attend 10 intakes in Vancouver, each one last between one to two weeks, during the course of the 26-month program.

“There are significant travel costs and expenses associated with that,” he said.

For starters, round-trip flights from Edmonton to Vancouver cost about $500 each time he is required to travel. And hotel prices range between $150-$200 per night, depending on a whether it is a busy travel season.

That’s why Twinn was rather pleased to hear he’s one of three recipients this year of a National Indigenous Economic Education Foundation (NIEFF) scholarship. Each winner is awarded $2,000 through Cando, the national organization that promotes economic development in Indigenous communities across Canada.

Recipients will be recognized at the Cando Conference, which is set for Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, Que.

“For myself it’s a huge support,” Twinn said of his scholarship.

Twinn is halfway through his program, having completed five of his required 10 intakes. His program will continue until the fall of 2020.

Twinn became interested in hospitality management when he started working for Edmonton’s River Cree Resort and Casino in 2006.

But he returned to school and earned a Hospitality Management diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, graduating in 2011.

Two years later he earned his International Hotel Management degree from Victoria’s Royal Roads University.

Twinn had spent the past three years working with a consulting company, with his responsibilities focusing on tourism and hospitality.

But he recently left that job to join the Indigenous relations team at Civeo, a company that specializes in workforce accommodation and assists those working and living away from home.

“I will probably stay here awhile,” Twinn said. “It’s a good organization.”

Civeo recently received a Gold Level certification from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business through its Progressive Aboriginal Relations program.

“It’s a good group and I’m happy to be here,” Twinn said of his current job.