Ten students will graduate this week from the first offering of the Introduction to Mining Operations program at Yukon College.
The 44-day course is the result of a partnership between the college, Education’s Advanced Education branch, Alexco Resource Corp., Yukon Zinc Corp., and Capstone Mining Corp. The goal of the program is to place more local workers in jobs at the territory’s three producing mines.
Following a two-week work placement and successful completion of the program graduates will now be invited to apply for work at one of the three producing mines.
“This new program is assisting Yukoners interested in a career in the mining industry, as well as companies operating in the territory who are eager to employ local residents,” Education Minister Scott Kent said. “Our government is pleased to be a partner in an initiative that responds to emerging labour market needs and is supported by industry.”
“The Introduction to Mining Operations program was a successful partnership between industry, government and the College in developing an entry level training program that addresses short term training and skill requirements at the operating mines,” COO, Alexco Resource Corp. and Chair of the Yukon Producers Group, Brad Thrall said. “This program sets the foundation for an expanded mine training initiative that is essential to a healthy and sustainable Yukon mining industry.”
The program introduced students to surface and underground mining through a combination of classroom and on-the-job training at the territory’s three producing mines.
“Our goal has been to give students an overview of the different stages of the mining process as well as a realistic idea of mine camp life and employer expectations,” instructor Matt Cook said. “One thing we have impressed upon the students is that only 30 per cent of jobs in an operating mine are actually mining. The rest are positions in environmental monitoring, administration, facilities, and maintenance.”
Mark O’Shea-Ferrero is one graduate who has been invited to submit his resume at Wolverine mine.
“I was working with the underground construction crew for the past two weeks – doing a lot of pipe-fitting and setting up bulkheads and fences,” O’Shea-Ferrero said. “I enjoyed the work and enjoyed camp life. I was surprised it was not more physically demanding, but the machinery does a lot of the work for you.”
Jason Johnson completed his work experience at Minto Mine.
“After completing all the safety training and the work experience I definitely have my foot in the door now” Johnson said. “Through this program I have made some good connections with the HR people at all three mines and believe I have a better chance at getting a job than I did three months ago.”