Ontario students adapt video game skills to mining technology

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.


The lineup of students was always long at the Sandvik double boom jumbo mining drill simulator during Skills Canada Ontario’s 22nd annual technological skills competition.  The event, which was held earlier this week at the RIM Park Complex in Waterloo, attracted more than 31,000 students, teachers and parents.  The competitions themselves saw more than 1,800 high school and community college students vying for top prizes in 63 contest events ranging from heavy equipment maintenance to computer design to electrical diagnostics and culinary skills and hairstyling. 

The Ontario Mining Association and its members participated in the competition through running career awareness workshops and supportive exhibits.  Peter Larsen and Tom White from Sandvik manned the ever-popular drill simulator.  This highly interactive and realistic training equipment was a welcome attraction for students who enjoyed testing their video game skills on the tasks of operating underground mining equipment.

Supporting Lesley Hymers of the OMA with the mining exhibits were Tonia Oldford and Godfrey Desmoulin from Barrick Hemlo Mines, Don Rivera and Andre Cousteils from Sifto Salt, Michael Bartch and Allison Bawden from Canadian Salt in Windsor and Louise Turcotte from the Federated School of Mines and Cambrian College.

The mining contingent ran six career awareness workshops for schools from Brantford, Cambridge, Mississauga, Guelph and Ohsweken.  These workshops exposed students to some of the skilled work they would perform if they pursued careers as production miners, geological technicians, environmental technicians, health and safety technicians, mine technologists and instrumentation and remote control technicians. 

Special visitors to the mining station included Shawna Grouette, career guidance counselor and OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program) coordinator for the Superior-Greenstone District School Board; Leo Leclair, program coordinator for the Rainbow District School Board’s specialist high skills major program; and, Alan DeLong who helped his younger brother David produce Lego Mining, the Best Overall Video in the OMA’s So You think You Know Mining high school video competition last year. 

Earlier this year, Ms Grouette guided a team from Marathon High School to the gold medal in Skills Canada Ontario’s cardboard boat race competition.  While speaking of medals, Peter McBride from the OMA had the pleasant job of handing out gold medals to the winners in the Motive Power competition category (heavy equipment, airplane, truck and automotive maintenance) of the technological skills competition at an awards ceremony with an audience of more than 3,000. 

Skills Canada Ontario, which opened its doors in 1989, is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to promote careers in skilled trades and technologies as viable, first-choice employment options for young people in Ontario. More than 600,000 students benefit from the programs and activities Skills Canada Ontario facilitates each year. The organization works through partnerships with industry, education, labour and government.  

The OMA is involved in an agreement with Skills Canada Ontario to support the work of liaison officers making presentations in schools, to contribute to the SKILLS WORK! book publication and to promote mining involvement and general awareness of the technological skills competitions. The OMA is pleased to lend a hand to the work of this group in its efforts to let young people know the facts about exciting opportunities that exist in the skilled trades and technologies fields – and mining. Thanks to all of those mentioned above and to their companies for their dedication and enthusiasm, which made the mining area one of the most popular spots to visit during the Skills Canada Ontario’s 22nd annual technological skills competition.