IDEA—Indigenous Design & Engineering Academy

LIT Program

Exploring ideas, concepts, and perspectives at the intersection of Indigenous land based learning, STEM engineering and design, and leadership learning

The IDEA: Leader-in-Training (LIT) program is a partnership between University of Toronto, and Actua in collaboration with Dufferin-Peel District School Board. 

Designed for Indigenous secondary students who are interested in learning more about STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math), the IDEA-LIT Program is grounded in Indigenous Land-based learning and Indigenous Knowledge and will demonstrate to students that Indigenous knowledge is STEM. Participants will gain knowledge and skills to be able to make connections between Indigenous land based knowledge systems and STEM related activities.

This program will also prepare high school students for future leadership opportunities in one of the many Actua InSTEM programs across the country.  Actua offers STEM camps and workshops for children and youth at 41 University and Colleges across Canada. 

This program includes 8 weeks of paid summer programming, taking place between July and August 2021.



30 spots are available for this program. Students will participate in a series of online workshops, hands-on experiences and learn from specialists in the field. Students will also gain skills, knowledge and experience working in our programs for children and youth. Participants will be paid for participating in online learning sessions, as well as for their work in our camp classrooms. Successful applicants will be paid* $15 per hour for up to 20 hours/week.

*Participants will need to provide their SIN in order to receive payment.

All participation will be completed virtually for the summer of 2021.


Students who are selected and complete the program will receive a free Microsoft Surface Go laptop at the start of the program.


Open to Ontario Indigenous secondary students in the 2020/21 school year.

Candidate eligibility and selection process:

  • The selection process for this program is competitive. (Based on 30 participant cap) 
  • Shortlisted candidates will participate in a virtual interview.  
  • Students must identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit).
  • Students must be currently in grades 10-12 of the 2020-2021 school year.


No cost to participants. This program is delivered at no cost to successful applicants. 

Participants will be paid for their time participating in the program. 

Participants will receive a certification of completion. 

To be eligible for this certificate, students should attend all online learning sessions (includes training, reflection, and youth program delivery). Training and reflection sessions will be held online for 3 sessions a week (typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with some variation), for up to 3 hours each session. Youth program delivery sessions are offered throughout the summer and scheduling will be arranged with participants, drawing on personal interests.

Students who complete this program will be well-prepared to take on instructional roles in STEM and on-the-land programs for children and youth.


  • Application opens – June 1, 2021
  • Application deadline – June 18, 2021
  • Virtual interviews – June 21-25, 2021
  • Acceptance decisions – June 29, 2021
  • IDEA-LIT Program – July 5-August 27, 2021


Our programming features a range of inspiring lectures, hands-on activities, and engaging conversations with Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers and STEM practitioners. Through this program, students will explore Indigenous knowledge systems, leadership, the use of the engineering design process, and connections to STEM disciplines. Participants will be led through unique offline activities, disconnecting from a virtual space to extend our learning. Students who complete the program will leave with a fundamental understanding of the skills and knowledge required to navigate engineering and Indigenous Land-based STEM subject matter through a distinct Indigenous lens.


The IDEA-LIT Program is committed to creating an environment that is inclusive of all persons and treats all members of the community in a respectful and equitable manner.

Students who complete 80% of program activities will receive a certificate of completion and letter of reference and a Microsoft Surface Go laptop.


Join U of T Engineering Outreach and Actua to learn more about the IDEA-LIT program.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the program, ask questions, and determine how this program may be a good fit for you!


Register for Information Session One – Tuesday June 15, 2021, 1:00 PM EDT 

Applicants are encouraged to start their application, and set up their Active account ahead of the Information Session. Interested parties may register by entering their name and email address, below.


For more information contact

[Download a promotional flyer]
IDEA 2021 Mailing List & Information Session Sign-up
    I wish to receive contact details for an upcoming IDEA Information Session.


How do I apply?

Visit our registration portal.

You will need to create an account to apply and upload your statement of interest.

If you experience any difficulties with the application, contact

What activities will we be doing?

Participants should expect to participate in 3, general types of activities in this program: Learning Indigenous/STEM content from specialists, engaging in active sessions such as guided reflective practice, discussions, outdoor-based activities, brainstorming sessions and activity development, and supporting virtual camp delivery for children and youth. Some activities will be hands-on, and interactive, others will involve listening, reading, thinking, and speaking with others.

What if I don’t live in Toronto?

All participation in this program will occur virtually and is open to all Indigenous secondary students living in Ontario; students will not need to come to Toronto to participate. Successful applicants will be provided with a laptop computer and should have access to high-speed internet connection in order to participate in live/virtual sessions, watch videos, and to complete the work required by the program. If you do not have access to this, please let us know so that it is not a barrier to participation.

Who will be leading this program?

This program is based on Actua’s InSTEM program model and will be Indigenous-led, developed, and delivered with guidance and counsel from traditional knowledge keepers and in collaboration with content experts. 

Details on program facilitators and guests will be shared with all participants prior to the program start date.

 If I complete this program, am I guaranteed a job at Engineering Outreach?

All those who complete this program will be prepared to take on instructional roles at camp and workshop programs, like those offered at Engineering Outreach and at Actua’s 41 network member colleges and universities across Canada, especially those programs with InSTEM on-the-land programs within the Actua network membership. Students will also be invited to join a larger national network of Indigenous youth in STEM and take part in other similar Indigenous leadership and training opportunities led by Actua. Applications can be highly competitive in these programs and as such, participants should be aware that their participation in this program does not guarantee any future offer of employment.


Application Deadline is June 18, 2021

We are now accepting applications

Start your application today!

Do you have questions about the Indigenous Design and Engineering Academy: LIT Program ?

Contact us at

Join the Mailing List

Be the first to know about registrations, new programs and important dates!

IDEA 2021 Mailing List

IDEA 2021 Mailing List & Information Session Sign-up
    I wish to receive contact details for an upcoming IDEA Information Session.

©2022 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering