Mine engineer

Mine engineer

College program takes off nationally

A work readiness program for Aboriginals which was piloted through the Northwest Community College, together with the School of Exploration and Mining (SEM), is going to be launched across Canada.

The program was offered in partnership between the Mining Industry Resource Council (MiHR), the Assembly of First Nations and the Skeena Native Development Society.

The program is called Mining Essentials, and taught students basic skills for the mining industry.

“We need to help mining and exploration companies better connect with alternate sources of labour as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement,” said Melanie Sturk, who is the director of attraction, retention and transition at MiHR.

She said the B.C. pilot for the program went very well.

NWCC was one of only three colleges in Canada who offered the Mining Essentials program. They ran the program through Hazelton between November 2010 and February 2011. Twelve students graduated and are searching for work through SEM.

Graduate Richard Alexander said the course helped prepare him for work, and also how to look for work.

The program was partially funded through the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund, and the B.C. Aboriginal Mine Training Association.

SEM manager Andrea Kosalko, along with two of the program’s instructors, presented the results of the course in Toronto recently, and based on that MiHR is working on bringing the program out nationally.