Northlands College funding announcement: Meeting the skills shortage in Northern Saskatchewan’s mining industry

July 30, 2014
La Ronge, Saskatchewan

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians have the skills, knowledge and experience they need to find jobs in the rapidly growing mining industry. To this end, on July 30, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $2.5 million for mining skills-training at Northlands College, which will help students acquire the skills they need to fill higher-paying jobs in the rapidly expanding mining industry in Northern Saskatchewan, and ensure that the industry has access to the workers it needs to keep thriving and growing.

The support announced today, which is provided through Western Diversification Program over three years, will help Northlands College purchase heavy equipment simulators, build a facility to house the simulators, and help create the Northlands College Mine School.

Northlands College will focus on recruiting northern residents, as well as Aboriginal students from across Saskatchewan, for the new programming being offered. About 75 students are expected to graduate at the end of the three-year project, approximately 50 of whom will be Aboriginal. All graduates will be well positioned to find jobs in their new field upon completion of the project. Construction of the new facility to house the simulators is expected to be completed by December 2016. Expanded programming has already started to be offered.

The Western Diversification Program (WDP) is the primary program used by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to make strategic investments that will promote the growth and development of the economy in Western Canada. Not-for-profit organizations can apply for funding through WDP for strategic initiatives specific to Western Canada that focus on the following areas:

  • Economic growth acceleration opportunities for Aboriginal peoples;
  • Industrial and technological benefits;
  • Innovation;
  • Skills development and training; and,
  • Trade and investment.

Other funding partners include: Northlands College which is contributing $496,000; the Saskatchewan-based International Mineral Innovation Institute (IMII) with an investment of over $1.84 million; CANARIE (formerly the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education, but recently rebranded as Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network) through a $150,000 contribution to its partner SRnet, to connect the two Northlands College campuses; and other industry partners, who are providing over $499,000.

Northlands College provides education and training programs and services to meet the development and employment needs of Saskatchewan’s northern residents, preparing them to participate in the labour market and help industry meet its needs.

The Northlands College project was developed in collaboration with the Government of Saskatchewan. The Mine School will complement existing mining programs in the province, through consultation with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) and the University of Saskatchewan. The distinction between the roles of Northlands College’s mine training and that offered through SIAST is that Northlands College will primarily provide training related to the hard rock industry, and SIAST will primarily provide training related to the soft rock industry.

This investment is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support training, job creation, and long-term prosperity in Saskatchewan. In March 2014, the Government provided $230,000 for Great Plains College in Swift Current to purchase the simulator equipment needed for mobile simulation training labs, including grader, excavator, loader, dozer and scraper simulators. In January 2014, the Government provided $950,000 for Parkland College to purchase and install equipment to provide technical training in a power engineering laboratory at the College’s Trades and Technology Centre now under construction in Yorkton. In February 2012, the Government of Canada announced $500,000 for equipment for the Mining Engineering Technology program at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. The program was the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and was created to help address the shortage of engineering technologists in the province’s mining sector.

source: The Prime Minister’s Office – Communications

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