Dana Imbeault, Mining Industry Human Resources Council
Employment in the mining industry is cyclical and volatile in nature, with skills gaps and labour demands running high and low. As a result, the mining industry’s workforce and skills development needs do not follow typical learning and skills development needs, and present unique challenges for both employers and educators. This volatility often requires employers to respond quickly to market changes and employment needs and creates situations where employers hire a significant number of new workers when a new mine opens, or when an older mine returns to production. As there is often a disconnect between the needs of mining employers and the skills taught by educational and training institutes, mining employers often invest significantly in training not only qualified workers, but also entry-level students who are exploring careers in mining. National Training Standards do not exist for undesignated occupations in an industry that spans provincial and territorial borders with a mobile workforce creates challenges and results in experienced and competent workers being re-trained when transferring to a new employer or mine site. This presentation will take a look at the status of training in the mining industry and some of the unique challenges and explore some creative solutions currently under development to address the challenges. In addition, this presentation will provide a background for Gearing Up, the new work-integrated learning (WIL) program for Canada’s mining sector.