Education and Employment Training

Urban Spirit Foundation makes grants to ACCESS and other urban Indigenous organizations that provide programs addressing basic education requirements, specific trade and technical training opportunities, secondary and post-secondary preparation, career exploration and life skills enhancements.


The Foundation supports many of the initiatives of ACCESS - Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society. ACCESS works with urban Indigenous people to enable them to build bright and rewarding futures. Their programs deliver a range of education, training, counselling, employment services support and financial services designed to help members of the urban Indigenous community overcome barriers that may stand in the way of success and self-sufficiency. Many of these programs are developed in partnership with industry so that urban Indigenous people can move effectively from training to employment.


BladeRunners is an employment program that targets at-risk youth between the ages of 19 and 30 and provides them with social skills development, certified health and safety training, practical work experience and ultimately, employment placement. The primary focus of the program is to develop high-quality employability skills within the youth so that they are able to sustain long-term attachment to the labour force.

The program was created in 1994 during the construction of GM Place (now Rogers Arena) with the goal of transitioning disadvantaged ‘street-involved’ youth into employment.  Two years later, the Province of British Columbia formally began supporting the program and took on a stewardship role.  ACCESS became a major funder of the program in 2002 and is now a contracted program manager overseeing nine delivery agents throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

BladeRunners maintains a 77% job placement rate - an outcome attributed to:

  1. A screening process that identifies those youth who are able and willing to work; increasing the probability of satisfaction for the employer and encouraging the business community to employ BladeRunners.
  2. Pre-employment training tailored to local employment, which ensures the youth are safe and have the skills/awareness to meet the employer’s entry level requirements.
  3. Workshops that increase participant’s social skills so they are better able to meet employer’s expectations and manage their own transition into long term employment.
  4. Pro-active relationship between those delivering BladeRunners locally and the business community; building understanding and securing job opportunities for the youth.
  5. Job coaching which supports participants through training and the first 8-16 weeks of employment.  A service that operates during and outside of normal office hours (including weekends), responding to the challenges participants face both in and outside the workplace.

Your gracious donation and continued support will allow us to provide our BladeRunners youth with such supports as food, tools, safety gear and equipment.