As First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples move towards sovereignty in governing and managing their initiatives, funding constraints demand communities to manage their projects with exceptional efficiency and effectiveness to ensure important change initiatives are successfully completed, on time and within budget. Project management expertise within Indigenous communities is a critical skill currently in high demand across Canada.

The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) has recently partnered with Procept Associates Ltd., Canada’s leading project management training company to help develop the required project governance and management skills and launch a new Project Management Certificate Program through its Indigenous Continuing Education Centre (ICEC). The ICEC, launched in January 2022, has expanded from primarily providing Indigenous awareness and reconciliation training to Corporate Canada to working directly with members of Indigenous communities to build capacity within their project delivery capabilities. Reila Bird, Director of the ICEC, notes that the new professional certificate goes well beyond project management fundamental skills. “In addition to planning, risk management and other basic PM skills, the certificate program addresses topics of specific interest to Indigenous communities; namely, establishing sound project governance structures and policies, and best practices for project procurement that align within legal requirements and community interests. We have developed a comprehensive program that will take participants from having little to no project management skills at the start to being able to positively contribute to the delivery of important projects for their communities.”

“Many First Nations groups face a significant challenge initiating, managing, and bringing to completion change initiatives,” says Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, President of the First Nations University of Canada “For Indigenous communities, change can be realized through meaningful and relevant projects. Many communities rely on help from external consultants and advisors to plan, implement, and evaluate change initiatives and all too often external consultants don’t understand their histories, lived experiences, and unique needs. Most First Nations need greater internal capacity to govern and implement projects with people from the community. This approach keeps revenue within the community and empowers First Nations to make project planning and delivery decisions that are aligned with community priorities and goals.”

Through the Project Management Certificate Program, the first cohort will align with National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2022. Dr. Bob Kayseas, Vice President Academic at FNUniv, notes the significance of this timing: “We chose to get the first group started at this time as a way of celebrating efforts to reclaim sovereignty over our projects. With all the changes underway in Indigenous communities across the country, we strongly feel that the time for this type of training is here. The First Nations University of Canada is leading the way in developing the capacity of our peoples.”

Individuals or organizations interested in receiving more information on the ICEC and its Project Management Certificate may contact the Director at or visit

About First Nations University of Canada

The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) was founded in 1976 and is a First Nations-owned post-secondary institution that bridges our ceremonies, knowledge keepers, languages, and traditions to deliver high-quality post-secondary education. This transformative impact will lead to the pride and success of all students, First Nations communities and Canada. For more information about FNUniv, please visit