The second intake of a recruitment program aimed at increasing the number of Inuit officers within the ranks of the Nunavut RCMP is set to begin in Rankin Inlet this month.
The four-month Assisted Application Training program is tentatively set to begin on Jan. 25.
There hasn’t been an Inuk RCMP officer go through the force’s Depot training program in Regina, Sask., since 2003, and there are only three Inuit officers currently on the Nunavut force.
Const. David Aglukark said the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. initiative with the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp. is to enhance the preparedness of Inuit for employment.
He said the RCMP is again pleased to be partnering with Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp. and the Department of Family Services to better serve Nunavut.
“We only rolled the program out on Monday, Jan. 4, and we’ve already begun to see interest in it,” said Aglukark.
“There’s nothing set in stone yet — we still have a bit of work to do — but we should have a better idea of what we’re looking at by the end of this week or so.”
The RCMP have had many Inuit apply from Nunavut over the years, but the entrance exam has proven itself quite difficult for them to pass due to its English and math components.
Aglukark said the new program will see the applicants receive literacy and numeracy training, exposure to various police skills, and workshops on mental wellness and coping skills.
He said the RCMP will undertake all the steps of the regular recruiting process during these four months to minimize barriers to success.
“The goal of the program — which is in line with the restrictions currently implemented and mandated by the health minister and the Government of Nunavut — is to have the applicants ready to attend the RCMP’s Training Academy in Regina, Sask., for six months of basic training.
“We ran this program here in Iqaluit this past year and we had seven applicants attend the program.
“Six of the seven applicants were able to pass the exam after the first two months of the course, which was a huge success and our main goal for the program.
“Shortly after that we assisted them in completing the rest of the application process. They were well on their way to doing that when we got hit by the pandemic this past March and had to send everybody home.”
Aglugark said the running of the Rankin program also depends on the Covid situation in Nunavut.
He said, hopefully, all will go well with the situation and the RCMP will be able to run the program as planned.
“We had four males and three females participate in the first course.
“Out of the six we had pass the exam, we still have one in the application process.
“The others, for different reasons, aren’t in the application process right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come back and continue on.
“Having passed the exam, they can come back at any time during the next five years, rejoin the process and go through with their application.”
Aglukark said another thing the program does is prepare the participants for live interviews.
He said the applicants are young and, as such, are not experienced with formal interviews or being in front of a panel.
“That can be very intimidating, so it’s also the kind of stuff we’re instructing them on.
“We let them sit in front of their peers and help them work through it so they gain some experience, because it’s also part of the application process.
“A lot of these kids out in the communities may not have gone to college or university where they’re constantly writing papers, doing interviews and things of that nature.
“So that’s also part of the instruction we want to provide in this program.”