Developing talent through our Indigenous Internship Field Program

At Cenovus, some of our closest neighbours at our operations are Indigenous communities, which is why we’re committed to ensuring that our presence benefits these communities in meaningful ways. For us, advancing Indigenous reconciliation means embedding Indigenous reconciliation into the way we do business and taking meaningful action, which includes consultation, building trust and enabling long-term value through employment and business opportunities. As we recognize National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, we reflect on this ongoing commitment.

In service of taking meaningful action, we’ve developed the Indigenous Internship Field Program (IIFP). This program provides local Indigenous job candidates a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience at our sites. Specifically, the program includes mentorship, academic support, as well as on-the-job training, development and networking opportunities.

The IIFP covers a wide range of topics and skill development opportunities across our western Canada operations, with plans to expand the program to other locations in 2025. When joining the program, each intern is paired with a technical coach and a strong support system. They work together to create a well-rounded learning experience based on their intern’s interests. With the program spanning up to four years depending on the candidate’s education and experience, the ultimate goal is to help equip participants with the skills and training needed to obtain employment in their selected career. Mutually beneficial for both Cenovus and our Indigenous partner communities, the IIFP helps deepen our ties with local Indigenous students and job seekers and helps fill key roles within our business, all while helping participants build skills and experience as they explore their career options. 

Hear from program participants

Brandon Strawberry, born and raised in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, has been working with Cenovus’s Conventional Clearwater Field Operations team after participating in the IIFP. “The IIFP opened a door for me to grow my career and exposed me to new opportunities,” says Brandon.  

After working as a pipefitter, Brandon was looking for learning opportunities in other areas in the industry. “It can be hard to get exposure to different roles without having connections or prior experience, so being able to join the IIFP was really valuable to me.” 

While not all of our interns stay with Cenovus after their work terms, Brandon enjoyed his experience and applied to join the team as a full-time field operator. “I’m so happy I’ve been able to continue my journey with Cenovus – I feel like I have found my place in my career, and I am excited to continue to grow and learn from the skills I developed through the IIFP.”

Our IIFP not only has a positive impact on the interns who participate in the program but also benefits Cenovus staff who serve as mentors and leaders during our interns’ work terms. Ian Rensby, one of our IIFP mentors and a Maintenance Technician at our Foster Creek operations, had the opportunity to guide an intern through the program. 

“This program has provided me with opportunities to develop as a leader, and as a result, I have become much more compassionate and empathetic,” he shared. "It's really a win-win for Cenovus and for the participant – each candidate brings a unique perspective to the company, and this program serves as a steppingstone to a rewarding career in trades.” 


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