A work readiness mining program for Aboriginals will soon be offered across Canada as a result of a successful pilot project recently completed at Northwest Community College (NWCC) in cooperation with the College’s School of Exploration & Mining (SEM). The program was offered in partnership with the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and Skeena Native Development Society (SNDS).
Mining Essentials: A Work Readiness Training Program for Aboriginal Peoples teaches students basic skills needed to enter the mining industry. The program is unique in that skills are taught using workplace examples and traditional knowledge methods. It also combines industry recognized standards with hands-on learning experiences.
“We need to help mining and exploration companies better connect with alternative sources of labour as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement,” according to Melanie Sturk, Director of Attraction, Retention, & Transition at MiHR. "The recent BC pilot went very well, and learners are now empowered and excited about their futures in the mining sector; they are ready for hire. This wouldn't be possible without the support of our partners, including the AFN and NWCC. "
NWCC was one of only three locations in Canada chosen to pilot the Mining Essentials program, which took place in Hazelton between November 2010 and February 2011. Twelve students successfully completed the training, and are now working with SEM staff to find work. Several students have also decided to take more SEM courses.
“The course will benefit me because it really helped me to prepare for work and taught me how to look for work. I would recommend this course to anybody who is interested in the mining industry,” says Mining Essentials graduate Richard Alexander.
The course was very informative in a lot of ways,” added another graduate of the program, Brent Dennis. “It opens up opportunities for finding the right job that is best for me.”
Mining Essentials was partially funded through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC) Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund, British Columbia Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BCMTA) and Smithers Exploration Group (SEG).
Industry partners includedImperial Metals, Goldcorp, Thompson Creek Metals, LowProfile Ventures and Metal Mountain Resources.
SEM Manager Andrea Kosalko and two of SEM’s instructors travelled to Toronto earlier this month to present the results of the Mining Essentials pilot project at NWCC.
Based on those results and those from the two other pilot locations, MiHR is finalizing a plan for the future delivery of the program across the country, including a train-the-trainer workshop.