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Inuit youth applying to the RCMP get help from training program

Inuit serving as RCMP officers helps break down barriers between the police and the communities in which they work. Credit: Shutterstock


Passing the RCMP aptitude test is often the biggest challenge for applicants, especially for those whose mother tongue is not English. Earlier this year, Inuit youth from Nunavut were offered help through the organization's Assisted Application Training Program.

The program, which ran for its second time in January, provided twelve youth with the support they needed to confidently apply for a career with the RCMP. The program included instruction in literacy and numeracy, scenario-based training exposing applicants to what police work is like and talks with Inuit RCMP officers from across Nunavut and all of Canada.

Nunavut RCMP recruiting officer Cst. George Henrie says there's always been interest in RCMP police officer careers among those in the far north. But, barriers such as limited internet access to complete the online application and a lack of cultural awareness in the security screening process pose challenges for many applicants in the territory. This is in addition to the difficulty in preparing for the test in English or French, given that nearly 65 per cent of Nunavut's population lists Inuktitut as their mother tongue.

The program, which was supported by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated's Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp, Nunavut's Department of Family Services and the RCMP, provides a chance for participants to refresh their language skills, according to Simone Clark, who helped develop and deliver the program's curriculum with the Nunavut Literacy Council, called 'Ilitaqsiniq' in Inuktitut.

"Several participants had been out of school for a long time and they found the vocabulary on the [aptitude test] very challenging," says Clark.

Looking forward

Qamaniq Siksik, who's been drawn to a career in policing since RCMP officers visited his elementary school, was pleased to participate in the program.

"I enjoyed being a student again," says Siksik, a 26-year-old from Rankin Inlet who works as a student support assistant at the local high school. "It boosted my enthusiasm to become a police officer."

Siksik is working his way through the RCMP application process and looks forward to the chance to attend Depot, the RCMP training academy in Regina.

"I'm still in the application process and still eager," says Siksik. "I think being a police officer is one of the best ways to help as many people as I can."

Career possibilities

Recruiting officer Henrie, who spoke with program participants, says hearing RCMP officers talk about their work experience opened many participants' eyes to the wide range of RCMP policing jobs.

"I let them know I'm from Nunavut. I came from a small town. I joined the RCMP and ended up being a bodyguard for the Prime Minister," says Henrie, who worked with the RCMP Prime Minister Protection Detail for a decade before starting as a recruiting officer in August. "It really opened up the horizon and made them aware that if I'm capable of doing it, they are too."

By the end of the program, all 12 participants passed the RCMP aptitude test, and are either working through the application process, or considering it.

For more information about joining the RCMP and policing careers, visit the RCMP careers page.

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