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Scholarship programs support and encourage Aboriginal students.

Statistically, the employment future looks bright for Canada's Aboriginal youth, but only if they have the skills and training they need to succeed.

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A large percentage of the country's current workforce is from the Baby Boom generation. As more and more of these employees near retirement age, employers are increasingly looking to the large and growing population of Aboriginal youth to replace them, and have begun to create programs designed to help ensure these future employees are up for the challenge.

One such employer is CHUM Television, which through its music station MuchMusic is providing an annual scholarship for Aboriginal youth enrolled in post-secondary studies relating to broadcast media.

MuchMusic has teamed up with the Aboriginal Youth Network to offer the MuchMusic Aboriginal Youth Scholarship, which this year will be worth $5,000, an increase from the $3,000 given out in the previous two years the scholarship has been awarded. Eligibility for the scholarship has also been expanded this year, with applications accepted from Aboriginal Canadians under the age of 29, rather than the previous age cut-off of 25.

"We're hoping that will help students who maybe didn't go into school right after high school, who maybe took a bit of time off," explained Jenna Wong, who handles public relations for MuchMusic.

The scholarship is only in its third year, but the response to the call out for applications has been positive, with more people applying each year, Wong said.

"It's been really good. We've been really happy. We've gotten people from all over the country, which is the goal because it's a national scholarship. And we've gotten just really different people, like people interested in all areas of broadcasting."

Wong had some basic tips to share with students applying for the MuchMusic Aboriginal Youth Scholarship, or any other scholarship, that can help improve their chances of success.

"I think the first piece of advice I'd give to anyone is to read the application form very carefully. Just make sure you read the whole thing and that you understand the instructions because you might be disqualifying yourself for some silly reason. Like if it says 'maximum three pages' and you attach 40 pages, that's not going to make the judges happy. I know for our scholarship, it's open to anyone going into first or second year post-secondary education and we had a lot of high school students apply. So it's just something like that."

Making sure everything you submit is clear, organized, legible and free of spelling mistakes are also basic things to work on when putting your application together, Wong said. "You have to remember that it might be one of 100 applications that the judges look at, so you want to make sure it's organized well. You want to make sure everything's clear, that people aren't looking for information, that it's all right there ... put yourself in the position of the judge and think about what you would want to receive. This is your chance to say why should I get $5,000 so what would you as a judge be impressed by?"

Once you have all your i's dotted and your t's crossed on your application, there's one last step you should take before you send it off, Wong said "Show it to someone else and get some honest feedback."

The application process for the MuchMusic scholarship is a little different from most scholarships because, when it comes to the amount of creativity that an applicant can put into their submission, the sky is the limit. The application form says the scholarship will be awarded to "the individual who best demonstrates skill, talent, excellence and enthusiasm in pursuing a future in the broadcast industry" in hopes of soliciting really creative applications from the people applying, Wong said.

"We didn't want to limit it to a letter or something like that. We wanted to really leave it open for applicants to come up with whatever creative ways of applying and showing us that they have those four things, whichever way they wanted. So people have been really creative," she said.

"We've done other things like this, like our VJ search and the temp contest and stuff where we just really encouraged creativity. So when we developed the scholarship we wanted to stay in keeping with that, in that spirit. And you know, the scholarship is for youth interested in the broadcast industry, right? We didn't want to make it boring. We wanted to make it fun for them to apply."

The deadline for applications for the MuchMusic Aboriginal Youth Scholarship is Nov. 30, 2006.

For more information on the scholarship, visit the MuchMusic web site at www.muchmusic.com/proudtosupport/aboriginalyouthscholarship.

By Cheryl Petten

Windspeaker Staff Writer

TORONTO
COPYRIGHT 2006 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:2006 Aboriginal Scholarship Guide
Author:Petten, Cheryl
Publication:Windspeaker
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:793
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