Ontario Mining Association education and outreach initiatives build on past efforts

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 Ontario Mining Association was a major participant in an explore mining and forestry career night held earlier this month at Mohawk College in Hamilton, which attracted more than 100 students. Lesley Hymers, OMA Environment and Education Specialist, and Bryan Wilson from Xstrata Nickel in Sudbury carried the message for the mining side. Representatives from the Canadian Institute of Forestry, Resolute Forest Products and the Forest Products Association of Canada were on hand speaking about their component of Canada’s resource sector at the community college.

The event was organized by Richard Borger, an elementary school teacher and part-time professor in the engineering technology program at Mohawk College. He became acquainted with the OMA, while in the role of student, during the third annual Teachers’ Mining Tour earlier this year. Mr. Wilson has been an active and key participant in all three of these teachers’ tours, which have taken place, so far, through facilitating tours of Xstrata Nickel’s Nickel Rim South Mine in Sudbury.

“It is important for us to establish links with educators across the province and to work to strengthen and build upon those links,” said Ms Hymers. “It is also vital that we take advantage of opportunities to make students more aware of the tremendous variety and scope of career options that our industry offers.”

Mohawk College Dean of Engineering Technology Tony Thoma was on hand for the entire career night. The evening attracted students from building construction sciences, architectural technology, civil technology, chemical technology and technician, electrical technology, clean and renewable energy and mechanical technology programs at Mohawk College.

The event included presentations as well as a lot of mingling time so students could talk with the representatives from the mining and forestry sectors. Mohawk College presented students with the following introductory information: Mining will need to hire 120,000 new employees in the next 10 years; the starting salary for new hires is regularly greater than $60,000; mining offers high-tech, safe jobs with potential for personal and professional growth, and; the resource sector is one of the largest growth areas for environmental sustainability initiatives.

The OMA is involved in the Teachers’ Mining Tour, which is a week-long program held at the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC) near Mattawa. The third annual program was held in August 2012 and 35 teachers from across Ontario participated in the educational workshop – including Mr. Borger. The CEC, which is located in Samuel de Champlain Park, is an environmental education institution delivering high school credits and school programs for students and teachers.

Educators taking the mining course are able to earn a component of their Environmental Additional Qualification. The OMA is pleased to play an active role in this important program and it welcomes the opportunity to be involved in career nights at institutions like Mohawk College.