Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and Manitoba's Top Employers (2019) :
- APTN celebrates longstanding employees through a number of awards, including a customized Star Blanket for 10 years of service and framed birch bark biting art for 15 years of service -- the organization also established a dedicated committee to focus on increasing long-term employee engagement
- 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)
- APTN incorporated employee feedback in the design of its workplace -- 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
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
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 (2018):
- APTN recently partnered with the Canadian Association of Journalists to provide a paid 12-week placement with APTN Investigates -- the selected journalist had the opportunity to produce a full-length piece of original investigative journalism that aired on the program and was also screened at the Canadian Association of Journalists awards
- 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
- 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
A strong internship program reaps talent for APTN
If you want to hear about the benefits of an internship, talk to Kimberly Cleave and Ranee Dong. Both took advantage of such placements at Winnipeg-based Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), and both say they're now doing really fun and rewarding full-time work as a result.
"I've done a lot of learning along the way, and had a lot of employment growth, which is fantastic," says Cleave, who is Online Producer for the APTN music website, Digital Drum. "They put a lot of faith in the people coming in and let them be creative," adds Dong, a Graphic Artist for APTN National News.
Cleave, of Manitoba Métis descent, holds a film degree from the University of Winnipeg and a diploma in Digital Media Design from Red River College. She began her journey with APTN on a two-week practicum while at the college, leading to a paid summer internship in 2011 at Digital Drum, which showcases Indigenous music and its artists. When an online producer position came up, Cleave applied. Given her recent experience with the network, she was deemed an ideal candidate to transition into the job.
Now she oversees Digital Drum's content and video production, and travels widely, from Haida Gwaii to Yellowknife and internationally. "I have a pretty amazing job, to work in the music scene and go to festivals and travel," she says. "And it's really empowering to know that I have the management's support. They are very accepting of young people's ideas and innovations. They have a lot of patience and take a lot of time to train you."
Dong also went through Red River College's Digital Media Design program after getting her BA from the University of Manitoba, and also started at Digital Drum on a summer internship, making videos. Later the young Métis woman began filling in as an entry-level TV tech in the newsroom. Though she still had to attend courses in her college program, APTN accommodated her hours. "I would rush over at 4 p.m. to work on the news, going live at 5," she recalls.
Dong started working full-time in the newsroom in 2013 and was promoted to her current position a year later. She now handles the on-screen graphics for the national news and for such major events as APTN's 2015 federal election coverage. She has picked up a lot of skills on the job, and she has also received specialized training, including a stint in Los Angeles.
Debbie Isaak, Director of Human Resources, says APTN puts a lot of emphasis on internships and other vehicles to involve young people. These start as early as high school, with "work experiences" offered to 12 students last year. "These are young people who really want to get the behind-the-scenes flavour of broadcasting," says Isaak.
There are also the formal paid internships open to First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students in journalism or broadcasting programs. APTN has an additional intern partnership with Journalists for Human Rights, and offers two $2,000 scholarships to help support Indigenous journalism students in their final year. "We hope this will pique their interest in APTN," says Isaak.
Once young people are in the door, she says, "we give strong support to our people through mentorships, work experiences and a lot of training and development."
While internships and scholarships are limited to Indigenous candidates, Isaak notes that anyone can apply for a job at APTN. The news and programming departments are the biggest employers -- most shows are produced externally by independent producers or independent production houses -- and there are also regular organizational support roles from finance to marketing.
Above all, APTN offers "a sense of family," says Isaak, of Métis descent. "The sense of pride is No. 1."