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Shell and Indspire Advance Indigenous Education with $1.8M Investment

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CALGARY, June 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Indspire announces Shell Canada's $1.86 million commitment to Indspire's core education programs to help young Indigenous people across Canada realize their potential and achieve their goals. This three-year Shell commitment will provide scholarships and bursaries to students, highlight career opportunities in the oil and gas sector and help to boost high school completion rates in Indigenous communities across the country. The funding also supports career conferences and the Indspire Awards that celebrate Indigenous Achievers.

Indigenous education is vital to the success of Indigenous communities and Canada.  "Just four out of 10 on reserve First Nations students will earn a high school diploma, compared to 70 per cent of non-Indigenous students," said Roberta L. Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. "This gap in educational attainment translates into a tremendous loss of opportunity for both Indigenous people and all Canadians.  With the help of outstanding corporate leaders like Shell, we can transform Indigenous education in this country."

Thalia Aspeslet, a Region Six member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, a recent graduate from the University of Calgary, can attest first-hand to the impact of Indspire's bursaries and scholarship awards.  After struggling through high school and becoming a young mother, Aspeslet knew that only through education could she create a better life for her and her newborn son. Aspeslet who now works as a Geophysicist, at Shell said, "the scholarship I received was instrumental in my success. It allowed me to focus on my studies and earn my degree. The scholarship also helped me realize that there are organizations like Shell that were willing to give me a chance once I earned my degree."

Shell Canada has been an Indspire partner for over 26 years and has provided millions of dollars in support. During the announcement Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada President and Country Chair said, "Shell is committed to supporting Indigenous communities, and education is an essential tool to unlocking the tremendous potential of Indigenous youth. Shell's partnership with Indspire supports programs that increase graduation rates and the number of Indigenous youth pursuing post secondary education and careers. We believe this helps build vibrant and successful Indigenous communities, which is important in its own right and key to Canada's success overall."

In thanking Shell Canada, Ms. Jamieson said, "Shell Canada is a partner who has recognized the incredible value Indigenous youth can infuse across the country.  They also understand that unlocking this value requires a sustained financial commitment."

The announcement was made at Shell Canada's annual Aboriginal Awareness Week which highlights Indigenous cultures, skills and achievements.

Indspire is the former National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Its new name combines the key notions of Indigenous and inspiration to highlight its exciting mandate. Indspire is best-known for its many programs that help Indigenous youth succeed. In addition to bursaries and scholarships, Indspire offers career conferences for youth, interactive classroom learning modules, the Indspire Institute and the Indspire Awards. Indspire's focus is on supporting, innovating, and fundamentally transforming Indigenous education. To date, Indspire has provided more than $54-million in funding to 16,000 students.

Shell Canada Ltd
Shell has been operating in Canada since 1911 and employs approximately 8,000 people across the country. A leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of refined petroleum products, Shell produces natural gas, natural gas liquids and bitumen, and is Canada's largest producer of sulphur. Shell is one of Canada's oil sands developers and operates the Athabasca Oil Sands Project on behalf of the joint venture partners.

Notes:

Shell Canada's investment will help Indspire deliver many important initiatives, including:

The Realizing Project - supporting community based projects to increase high school completion rates for Indigenous students

Industry in the Classroom: Indigenous Youth Career Seminars — a new curriculum module for high school students will be created highlighting the career opportunities available in Canada's Oil and Gas sector

Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries and Scholarship Awards — funding for the Shell Canada Aboriginal Scholarship and the Oil & Gas Trades & Technology Bursary and Scholarship Awards.

Indspire Awards- the nationally broadcast Indspire awards honours Indigenous achievers across the country, providing positive role models to Canada's booming Indigenous youth population, which has risen to over half a million youngsters under the age of 14

Soaring: Indigenous Youth Career Conferences—provides Indigenous youth valuable resources and information on career opportunities in key sectors of the Canadian economy.

SOURCE Shell Canada Limited



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