Cam Meshake knows mining prosperity might be just around the corner. But the Aroland First Nation resident said for many of his twenty-something friends, it’s tough figuring out how to break into the industry.
He’s got a much better idea of how to get there now, thanks to Ohski-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute’s new industry-specific web portal, Learning2Mine.ca.
Designed as a game, along the lines of Facebook favourite Farmville, the site details career possibilities and the path youngsters should take to land not only entry-level jobs, but well-paying mid- to upper-level careers. “It’s a really fun game to play. I just dove right into it,” Meshake said at Thursday’s initial public unveiling of the site.
“The story was interesting and kept me engaged. I learned a lot about the mining industry with this website and all the vast opportunities and the rewards that would come from the mining industry.”
Gordon Kakegamic, the school’s e-learning co-ordinator, said the government-funded project was developed specifically to address Aboriginal youth, many of whom are interested in making mining a career, but without the knowledge to do so.
A lot of the information available on the Internet is to technical and not suitable for the way many Aboriginals learn.
“They have a kinetic learning style,” Kakegamic said. “They love to use their hands to learn.”
The site, with the help of Goldcorp, helps visitors explore the Ring of Fire and hear the tales of mining workers who have helped pioneer the trail they hope to follow.
“The whole point of the portal is to give youth a voice,” Kakegamic said.
“They need more confidence to ask questions, to talk to human resource people about opportunities in the mining industry. You don’t see that. One of the problems is there is no mining presence in the communities.
“You have youth there who can’t speak to anybody in terms of the mining industry. The portal bridges that gap. The portal brings youth and industry together.”
There are more than 100 different job profiles included on the website, each providing information on the necessary training needed to land the job, the salary to expect and what it might entail.
Kakegamic said now is the perfect time to launch the portal, with the first Ring of Fire projects expected to get off the ground by 2017.
“It’s important to get youth ready now. For the more meaningful jobs, the more well-paying jobs, you do need at least two or three years to go through an education program at the college or university.”
Ohski-Pimache-O-Win plan to promote the portal in a variety of ways, including in the communities themselves.