New Mines for Minds award helps students; showcases different ways of giving

Students look out over vista

WHITEHORSE— Environmental Monitoring certificate students at Yukon College can now benefit from a new fund created by the Yukon Party executive designed to help remove barriers to education and employment.

The Mines for Minds - Yukon Party Award specifically helps Yukon First Nations and rural students by addressing unique program circumstances like travel to remote locations, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), and off-schedule tuition deadlines. All these factors have been identified by students and program faculty as barriers to successful completion of the program. 

“The Mines for Minds award helps set students up for success by removing what can be a significant barrier for some. Many of the course modules take place at active mine sites or mines in remediation across Yukon and students must have their own PPE and rain gear. The modules are offered in the middle of a normal semester. The special requirements and unique deadlines can make traditional funding inaccessible,” said Sascha Weber, program coordinator.

The new award came together using a new giving circle approach adopted by Yukon University Foundation.

“Many Yukoners want to contribute to the success of students, but don’t necessarily have the funds to provide an annual award all by themselves,” said Jay Dobson, development officer, Yukon University Foundation. “A giving circle is where a group of individuals or companies can pool their resources and have a greater impact than they would alone.”

To create this award Yukon Party executive members encouraged over 10 individuals, mining, exploration and service and supply companies to come together to support this award. Different amounts were pledged, totaling $10,000—a fund sufficient to create an annual award of $2000.

The Yukon Party executive then worked with Dobson to discover how the award could have the greatest impact.

“We wanted to support Yukoners training to work in the territory’s mineral industry who are in communities and Yukon First Nation traditional territories, however didn’t want to prescribe how the award did this,” said Amanda Leslie, Yukon Party Director and the initiator of the award. “YukonU  Foundation was very collaborative in finding the best program and the best application for our award.”

The Mines for Minds award has supported two Environmental Monitoring students in Carmacks and Ross River with tuition so far.

“This award wouldn’t exist without the support of Bob Brown at CAP Management Services. He was the first to say, ‘I’m in’, and opened the giving circle with a $2000 donation,” said Leslie. “The industry companies who stepped forward to support the students really understand the importance of removing barriers to education and employment.”

“Students do not always have the resources to respond to unanticipated circumstances and program requirements,” said Dobson. “Through talking directly with students and faculty in Yukon College programs we can zero in on exactly where new supports can be most meaningful.”

Another example of this is a new award from an anonymous donor for Practical Nursing and Health Care Assistant students supporting the purchase of industry-specific clothing, footwear and time-pieces necessary for practicums and job-shadowing. 

To find out more about giving circles and how to create one to support Yukon College students, please contact Jay Dobson at

For more information, please contact:

Jay Dobson

Development Officer

Governance and External

Michael Vernon

Communications Coordinator

Governance and External