SMITHERS, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 15, 2014) - Geoscience BC has established a new award to recognize NWCC's School of Exploration & Mining students who demonstrate a keen interest in mineral exploration and prospecting, an aptitude for rock and mineral identification, proficient field skills and a strong desire to pursue a career in mineral exploration or geoscience.
"The NWCC School of Exploration & Mining helps to support our communities and our mining industry by providing local, work-ready graduates through the unique and highly successful Workforce Exploration Skills Training program," says Geoscience BC President and CEO, Robin Archdekin. "Geoscience BC is pleased to have collaborated with NWCC on this program and we're pleased to offer a $500 award each year over 10 years to enthusiastic students, to help grow interest in BC's mineral exploration industry." This award reflects the strong relationship that continues between NWCC SEM and Geoscience BC.
The establishment of this award builds on the successful delivery in 2013 of one cohort of the Workforce Exploration Skills Training (WEST) program in partnership between Geoscience BC and NWCC SEM. The intensive six-week field program, offered in July and August, was funded through the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement. With 89 per cent of graduates either gaining employment or pursuing further training, the employment results provide a strong measure of the training's relevance and success.
For many students completing the WEST program changes their lives, allowing them to use technical skills training to help break down barriers and open doors. 2013 graduate Shane Gibson advises future students, "What you'll experience in the next six weeks will change your perceptions, will physically challenge you and will drive you to do things you never thought you could do. You'll learn about mining, forestry, animals, water, rocks, plants, exploring, and mapping and feel prepared for anything."
Since its inception in 2004 SEM has graduated more than 1000 students from various exploration & mining programs. Of these graduates 73 per cent have identified themselves as Aboriginal. Targeted directly to these students, this award will promote participation from a traditionally underrepresented demographic in British Columbia's minerals industry and build capacity in Aboriginal communities where exploration projects are taking place. With the Mining Industry Human Resource Council's 2012 talent forecasts anticipating the need for between 13,000 - 19,000 new workers in the coming decade, training programs that lead to successful employment offer clear benefits to an industry facing a clear labour shortage.
Dr. Denise Henning, NWCC President and CEO says, "Geoscience BC is a valued industry partner of NWCC and the donation for this award builds on the many ways in which Geoscience BC has supported NWCC's School of Exploration & Mining. Ultimately, this contribution helps bring success to our students and increases the capacity of our communities. It is through innovative partnerships like this that NWCC is able to provide the highest quality in programming and services to our students and communities in the northwest."
About Geoscience BC
Geoscience BC is an industry-led, industry-focused not-for-profit society. Its mandate includes the collection, interpretation and distribution of geoscience data and expertise to promote investment in resource exploration and development in British Columbia. Geoscience BC is funded through grants from the Provincial Government and works in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities to attract mineral and oil & gas investment to BC.
Northwest Community College (NWCC) is an accredited post-secondary institution offering comprehensive education and training to 34 urban, rural and remote communities in northwestern BC. Through an innovative distributed learning model that includes 9 campuses and learning centres, current technology, mobile units, and successful partnerships, NWCC brings relevant education and training directly to where it is needed. NWCC is a recognized leader in Aboriginal education where Aboriginals make up roughly 40 per cent of the student body. NWCC celebrates the diversity of its northern and Aboriginal populations and reflects this in its programs, services and workforce.