New ad campaign encourages Aboriginal Peoples to explore higher education

TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - A new $400,000 multi-media advertising campaign launched today by Ontario's colleges is encouraging Aboriginal Peoples throughout the province to explore the career opportunities available through higher education.

"Ontario's colleges provide a welcoming environment with support services and student centres to help students succeed," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "Raising awareness of the supports and opportunities available to students will encourage more Aboriginal Peoples to pursue college education. This is the start of a long-term effort that will make a real difference."

The campaign, called Break Your Own Trail, will include print, radio, online and poster advertisements. It was developed by Spirit Creative, which specializes in marketing to Canada's Aboriginal Peoples. The campaign has been co-funded by Ontario's 24 colleges and by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The ads will run this spring and again in the fall.

Ontario's colleges have been running provincewide campaigns promoting the value of college education since 2008. Franklin said the Break Your Own Trail campaign was developed to speak to some of the distinct issues faced by Aboriginal Peoples when they are considering postsecondary education.

For example, First Nations peoples living on reserves face the challenge of moving to a new community where most of the population isn't aboriginal.

The campaign was developed following consultations last year with Aboriginal community members and students in 10 communities throughout the province. John Sioui, the president of Spirit Creative, said the feedback helped the agency develop creative that effectively motivates young students and more mature students to explore higher education.

"This builds on the optimism that is found throughout our communities," Sioui said. "The campaign respects the Aboriginal Peoples' cultures and traditions and presents the message in a way that is exciting to students."

"This is an important step forward in encouraging greater numbers of Aboriginal Peoples to pursue postsecondary education," said Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy. "Higher education can open many doors and our government is very pleased to be working with the colleges to promote these opportunities."

Colleges Ontario is the voice of Ontario's 24 public colleges. Ontario's colleges serve about 200 communities throughout the province, delivering a wide range of career-focused education and training programs to more than 200,000 full-time and 300,000 part-time students.

SOURCE Colleges Ontario

For further information:

Sally Ritchie
Manager, Media Relations and Communications
Colleges Ontario
Cell: 647-217-4109

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