Attracting students to the mining, minerals, metallurgical and petroleum industries

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 971, 1993

Susan W. Campbell, Mining Association of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Bruce Regensburg, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Fort McMurray, Alberta

The CIM Careers Task Force has addressed industry's concern of a perceived shortage of skilled personnel over the coming decade. The industry is faced with a fundamental shift by young Canadians away from scientific and engineering careers, coupled with the fact that today's students know little about the minerals industry and have a poor image of it. The responses to two questionnaires which were distributed to CIM members, government, professional associations, and educational institutions, formed the backbone of the Task Force position paper, which presents a shopping list of ideas and initiatives for consideration and to facilitation by the various organizations concerned. Tackling the image of the minerals industry is part of the answer to the careers crisis. On the positive side, the minerals industry provides the allure of a treasure hunt for young people and is seen as a significant contributor to the economy. It is understood to be well paying, provide good opportunities for advancement, individualism, and travel, and to be rich in esprit de corps. Enhancement of these positive aspects of the image can take place at all student age levels. Numerous initiatives tackle the negative aspects of the image. Young people perceive the industry to be environmentally damaging, which is the most crucial aspect that needs to be addressed. The industry is seen as still in the pick-and-shovel days and as a sunset industry that is running out of ore. Work in the minerals industry is perceived as dangerous and lacking glamour. And finally, the perceived remoteness of operations and exploration is seen as a drawback to a largely urbanized student group. Tackling young peoples' curiosity and interest in the minerals industry throughout grade school and encouraging post-secondary science and engineering students to enter the minerals industry by ensuring summer employment is the second part of the equation. The CIM Careers Task Force position paper develops strategy to attract and maintain interest of students in grade school, junior high, senior high school, and in post-secondary levels. The strategy outlines initiatives targetted at each of the educational levels and action plans to accomplish the objectives.
Mots Clés: Human resources, Minerals industry, Careers Task Force.