Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Manitoba's Top Employers (2017):
- APTN provides new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 93% of salary for 1 week followed by 80% of salary for 16 weeks) and extends parental leave payments to new fathers and adoptive parents (to 80% of salary for 16 weeks)
- In addition to 3.6 weeks of starting vacation allowance, APTN helps employees achieve better work-life balance through a variety of alternative working arrangements including flexible hours, a telecommuting option, and a 35-hour work week (with full pay)
- APTN incorporated employee feedback in its workplace design -- the interior walls are painted in an Aboriginal colour scheme, the boardroom table is designed to reflect the traditional medicine wheel and the studio space features vessel artifacts representing Indigenous cultures
At APTN, a chance to mix excellence and community
At Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), they like to talk about "incubating" talent. Francine Compton knows all about that. With the benefit of the extensive training and mentoring that the Winnipeg-based cable network prides itself on, she has been incubated all the way from an entry-level studio position to Executive Producer.
"I think mentorships are the best way for people to learn," says Compton. "I gained all my skills and experience on the job because of my mentorships. I knew I was learning from very skilled professionals, from people who do the job every day. They're not teachers who did the job 10 or 20 years ago."
Compton, part of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, joined the network in 2000, less than a year after it was founded. She had grown up in a core neighbourhood in Winnipeg before moving to the suburbs in her teens. She remembers her father, who was in the television industry himself, talking about the prospect of APTN. "My dad told me we would have our own network. I didn't believe him," she laughs.
But she was interested in the business. She started working for an independent producer straight out of high school, then soon moved over to APTN, where she worked as a youth reporter and a television director. Things were more informal then, but she got a lot of mentoring from the CBC directors that APTN brought in to help the new network.
In 2008, after some time out in New York City, she decided to come back and take on a formal mentorship for a producer position in the news department. "It was a really good experience," she says. "Every day there were learning opportunities."
So it seemed natural for Compton to apply for another mentorship three years later, aimed at becoming an executive producer. That eventually led to a move to Ottawa for her current role in charge of the entire television and online news operation in eastern Canada, from Ontario to Newfoundland.
That kind of intensive professional development is a way of life at APTN, says Monika Ille, Montreal-based Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling, who herself enjoyed mentorship opportunities. The network employs a wide range of corporate personnel, from finance and marketing specialists to programming coordinators. The on-camera and in-studio group, however, is mainly the news and special events staff, since by its mandate, APTN gets most of its entertainment and documentary programming from independent producers.
Ille stresses that you don't have to be of Indigenous heritage to work at APTN, although given equal qualifications, the preference does go to such applicants. Currently, 65 per cent of employees are of Aboriginal ancestry, including 100 per cent of directors and 62 per cent of managers.
She notes that the network also offers competitive benefits, including tuition support, three weeks of vacation to start and a generous maternity and parental leave top-up. The family assistance program, which in most organizations offers counselling and other services, includes access to a traditional elder healing service if desired.
In fact, most employees seem to feel that the biggest satisfaction in working at APTN is how they are supporting the First Nations community. "People like to see themselves on TV and hear their own language," Ille says.
Compton strongly agrees. "APTN means a lot to the people who work there. To me, APTN is like my family. It's my heart."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- As part of the broadcaster's relationship with the Journalists for Human Rights organization, APTN accepts up to 4 interns per year who are dedicated to reporting indigenous content
- APTN manages an unpaid apprenticeship / work experience program for high school and post-secondary students of Aboriginal descent -- upon program completion, participants may also apply for paid internship opportunities
- APTN is currently working with Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts to develop an internship program for students studying Audio Sound and Media Production, and is exploring the creation of a scholarship program for Aboriginal students