Mining is already the largest private sector employer of aboriginal people in Canada, and it’s poised to become even more diverse as companies implement programs to attract and retain aboriginals from the communities around their mines. About half of aboriginal people are under the age of 25 and mining is a greying industry, so it makes sense for companies to engage this local talent pool.
This month I spoke to Adele Faubert, Manager of Aboriginal Affairs for Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine in northwestern Ontario, about the mine’s Aboriginal Mining and Skilled Trades Entry Project (AMSTEP). It’s a five-month, 800-hour, FIFO training and work experience program, the first of its kind to take place at an active mine site in Canada. The students, ranging in age from 18 to 29 (some with children at home), train on a two-week on/two-week off rotation. The second class graduated in March.
Q: What was the motivation behind AMSTEP?
A: We have access to a pool of employment ready youth from our First Nations Signatory communities looking to further their education, which is a challenge up here in remote northwestern Ontario. The core training program is adapted from the Mining Industry Human Resources Council’s Mining Essentials, A Work Readiness Training Program For Aboriginal People.
It has 240 hours of in-classroom learning, and we added a skilled trades entry program in partnership with Cambrian College and provided two rotations of 2-week long job shadowing.
Q: How many recruits do you take from each community?
A: We’ve had two intakes of 16 students each, with eight participants from two communities in each intake for a total of 32 participants from four communities. We’ve had 23 graduates, six of them female. We have two more intakes planned.
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