Skip navigation
Navigation skipped

News Releases

BMO Promotes Education, Empowerment and Tech Talent: Ground-breaking Cloud Computing Reskilling Program for Indigenous Students Kicks Off
  • 22 Indigenous students recruited from across Canada are taking part in Amazon Web Services re/Start program being delivered by PLATO and sponsored by BMO
  • Innovative collaboration will provide digital-first, future-focused skills development to Indigenous students in the growing Cloud computing industry

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2022 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group has teamed up with PLATO, Canada's only Indigenous-led and Indigenous-staffed IT services and training firm, to offer the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re/Start program virtually to Indigenous students across Canada. Twenty-two students, some from remote communities, have started a 12-week Cloud computing boot camp, followed by a six-month BMO internship to learn and apply those skills on the job, and opportunities for full-time employment.

"We're thrilled to be launching this program, which is built on the strong partnership between BMO, PLATO and AWS," said Kona Goulet, Head, Indigenous Equity & Inclusion at BMO. "It's creating opportunities for Indigenous peoples in communities across Canada to build digital-first, future-focused skills. It's an example of BMO's Purpose – to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life – in action, and our commitment to eliminate barriers to inclusion by advancing education, employment and economic empowerment in Indigenous communities. And it's also one of the ways that we're living our commitment as a founding partner of the World Economic Forum SkillsLink Alliance."

"Digital expansion is a strategic priority at BMO as we aim for speed, efficiency and scale in order to better serve our customers," said Victor Tung, U.S. Chief Technology & Operations Officer and Chief Information & Operations Officer, BMO Capital Markets. "Working with AWS and PLATO on the re/Start initiative will help us develop a critical pipeline of talent in technology that we need in order to reach our goals."

"I am very honored to be accepted into a program that provides training for Cloud computing. Getting exposure to the Cloud through on-the-job training would otherwise be impossible without an organization willing to train their employees from the ground up," said Kyle Moore, a Métis Nation student from Manitoba. "It can be a challenge for many of my classmates who live remotely to have access to appropriate educational resources and technical training. PLATO's program and BMO's partnership goes beyond traditional co-operative education programs; I'm thrilled for what comes next."

AWS re/Start is a skills development program that prepares individuals for a career in technology with the mission of building a pipeline of talent with core Cloud and Cloud-adjacent skills that are transferable to multiple technology roles. The people participating in this program with PLATO and BMO have been selected from a pool of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit applicants from across Canada who have demonstrated a strong interest in technology.

BMO signed on as a founding partner of the WEF SkillsLink Alliance in June 2021, joining a community of influential leaders committed to the 'Reskilling Revolution,"' an ambitious goal to provide 1 billion people with improved education, skills and job opportunities by 2030. To learn more about the commitments made by BMO and its SkillsLink Alliance partners, click here.

For more information about how BMO works with Indigenous Communities, please read Wîcihitowin ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑐᐏᐣ, BMO's first annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report.

About AWS re/Start
The AWS re/Start program's mission is to help unemployed and underemployed individuals who might not otherwise have access to technical education develop the skills they need to pursue entry-level Cloud roles. Each cohort of learners, supported by professional mentors and accredited trainers, completes a free, 12-week training featuring scenario-based learning, hands-on labs, and coursework in order to be ready for entry-level Cloud roles, such as Cloud operations, site reliability, infrastructure support, and technical adjacent business support functions.

About PLATO Testing 
PLATO Testing was founded in 2015 by Keith McIntosh, CEO of testing firm Professional Quality Assurance Ltd. PLATO is striving to build a network of 1000 Indigenous software testers across Canada. PLATO currently employs more than 50 full-time Indigenous software testers, making a positive impact for clients from coast to coast. PLATO Testing has offices on or near Indigenous communities across Canada, in Fredericton, Miramichi, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

About BMO Financial Group 
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $988 billion as of October 31, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: For News Media Enquiries: Kelly Hechler, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996