Indigenous Youth Ambassador Program

The Indigenous Youth Ambassador (IYA) Program (formerly the Aboriginal Youth Ambassador Program) is an immersive cultural and business program that teaches the foundations of business through the lens of a First Nations Museum. This fourteen-week paid training includes placement in the Food & Beverage, Retail, and Cultural Departments. We provide a safe environment for students to gain confidence and work experience in several industry sectors while discovering their personal aptitudes.

Certification Programs are provided in a safe environment for our students to gain access to First Aid Level 1; Food Safe Level 1; WHIMIS; Serving it Right.

Industry Sectors Introduction The Cultural Centre is proud to teach ambassadors world-class tourism sector customer service skills. Over the twelve-week placement, ambassadors work in several departments to learn key skill sets such as point of sales operations, cash handling, public speaking, retail merchandising, food and beverage service, intro to mechanical and janitorial systems, storytelling, and performing arts.

Tourism Related Career Discover enables ambassadors to investigate other tourism venues through hosted off-site visits, where they sample different sub-sectors they may want to consider for future careers.

Professional Development involves oversight of resume building, job searching, professional workplace behavior, and interview skills. We work closely with WorkBC to ensure the best opportunities for ambassadors to find job placements following their twelve weeks paid training program.

Mentorship is provided by cultural leaders, elders, council members and cultural ambassador peers as they share personal stories and cultural protocol information; this is done through visual art, song, story and crafting. Interaction with the ambassadors gives them a better understanding of where they come from and it empowers them to speak confidently with guests visiting the Cultural Centre.

SLCC Revenue and Labour Support is in turn provided by students for departments once have been trained to handle daily business. This allows our Cultural Ambassadors and leaders time to work on special projects and tackle more in-depth work. The SLCC also benefits from trained staff once IYA students graduate, by providing a labour pool.

Positive Cultural Awareness for the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations is a result from training its members to be ambassadors for their culture and history. A base cultural knowledge is provided during the program through cultural experts, so that students learn how to represent and speak about their Nations effectively.

This program has its perks! 

  • Transportation from North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Squamish, Pemberton & Mount Currie
  • Certificate training for Food Safe Level 1, WHIMIS, First Aid Level 1, and Serving It Right
  • Off-site excursions to other cultural centres and adventure tourism attractions
  • Presentations provided by community knowledge keepers from both nations
  • Daily morning circle
  • Ability to discover, build and share your story


Interested in applying?

The next IYA Program intake will begin in the fall of 2024, and we begin accepting applications in late summer. We welcome applications from Indigenous youth with the following qualifications:

  • Ages 16 – 30
  • Not receiving employment insurance
  • Provide a vulnerable sector check
  • Provide a criminal record check, and
  • Must have the intention to enter the workforce or an education program post training


For enquiries or to apply please contact Allison Burns-Joseph, IYA Program Manager at 778.877.6330 or allison.burnsjoseph@slcc.ca.

IYA Program History & Funding


The IYA program began prior to the opening of the Cultural Centre and operated out of regional educational institutions and tourism venues. Once the Cultural Centre opened in 2008, the IYA program had a permanent home to train on-the-job skills in a cultural tourism venue focused on sharing the two Nations’ histories, arts and cultures of the Squamish and Lil’wat Peoples.

The IYA is Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. We put our hands up to the community and Service Canada for continually supporting the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and sustaining this program.


Knowledgeable Cultural Ambassadors share their cultural teachings with guests during guided tours; visit our Group Tours page for more information.

Thunderbird Cafe

Thunderbird Café

Discover our unique style of modern First Nation’s cuisine such as bannock, salmon and venison. Visit the Thunderbird Café.

Gallery & Gift Shop

Discover our unique selection of First Nations merchandise ranging from handcrafted works of art, to home accents, clothing and accessories, jewellery, pottery, baskets, books and souvenir merchandise. Visit the Gallery & Gift Shop.

Weddings and Events

Weddings at the SLCC are some of the most spectacular; learn more about our venue as your wedding location by visiting slcc.ca/weddings.