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Blossoming Into Independence



Breanna Wilson is an 18 year old from Stz’uminus First Nation with an engaging smile, soft voice, and big dreams. She was also one of the first people to be referred to KL’s Step-Up Work Placement Program that aims to help Indigenous youth find meaningful employment.

Breanna began her employment journey with the help of Step-Up Worker, Kaylie Mckinley by doing job preparation tasks such as resume building, interview preparation, as well as receiving qualifications in Food Safe, First Aid, and WHMIS. Prior to joining the Program, Breana knew she wanted to find a job that is “hands-on”. Kaylie worked with Breanna to discover a potential career path, and as the two got to know each other better, Kaylie was able to help Breanna identify her own strengths and goals. “It’s so important that the research and career exploration is youth-led,” shared Kaylie, “they know themselves best. I am there to provide opportunities and support them on their journey to achieving their goals.”

Building on her strengths and goals, Breanna took a Work Preference Quiz (available on the WorkBC website), that identified some of her potential work skills and interests. “Growing up I always helped my family with cleaning, especially my Grandma.” says Breanna, “My mom cleans for a living and was always giving me cleaning and organizing tips. It has always just been something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve even helped others in the neighborhood with cleaning their houses”.


Seeing an opportunity with one of our employment partners, Kaylie approached the Microtel hotel in Stz’uminus and built a partnership in supporting Breanna with a work placement. Breanna began a housekeeping placement at the hotel where she worked a steady schedule. During the 120 hour work-based training, Breanna was able to practice employability skills and demonstrate teamwork by doing tasks such as cleaning up to 20 hotel rooms per day. “My favorite part of being a housekeeper is that it gives me a sense of control and is therapeutic to me.” Once Breanna’s placement was complete, she moved on to the final program evaluation process with Kaylie and the housekeeping manager. Breanna was offered a full-time housekeeper position at the Microtel on the spot, due to her excellent work ethic, attention to detail, willingness to learn and dependability.

As of today, Breanna is working full-time at the Microtel as the youngest employee maintaining her position as a Housekeeper. “When my supervisor was away for a couple days, she gave me the responsibility of a supervisor role where I assigned rooms to on-shift Housekeepers and examined each room to make sure the jobs were complete”, Breanna shares. Her current goal is saving up for her first car, but Breanna has also been considering her long-term goals and the possibility of eventually becoming a fire-fighter. Aware that just about 5% of women are fire fighters in Canada, Breanna is eager to “give back to communities and the people”. Given Breanna’s dedication and drive, KL was able to arrange a meeting with Ladysmith Fire Chief Chris Geiger and a grand tour of the Fire Hall Station where Breana gained insight into what it takes to become a Fire-fighter. Chief Geiger even provided her with a textbook which includes everything she needs to know to help her future dreams come true. Brianna is motivated and committed to attaining her goals with the ongoing support of Kw’umut Lelum’s Step-Up team by her side. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing young woman!


Read more stories from our Yukw'akw'usthut Newsletter here


The Step-Up Work Placement program provides Indigenous youth from our 9 member nations with employment essentials; job readiness skills, training, work experience, equipment, and support. Youth also have an opportunity to participate in 120 hours of work-based training in cooperative partnership with the youth, employer and Step-Up support staff. By connecting youth ages 16-24 and supporting them with job readiness skills and the opportunity to participate in a work placement they are able to increase their confidence, independence and much more! To date, 20 youth from our member Nations have participated in the Step Up Work Placement Program.

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