Partnering for Mutual Benefit - NWCC School of Exploration & Mining

CIM Vancouver 2010
Abstract The Northwest Community College School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) is built on an innovative, active partnership that is achieving mutual benefit and respect between mining and local communities. Together Northwest Community College (NWCC) and the industry organization Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) have developed effective approaches to train predominately First Nations for employment in the minerals industry. The Province of BC provided seed funding and the provincial and federal governments continue to fund specific programs. Almost 60 companies have donated to SEM and senior representatives serve on SEM’s steering committee.

First Nations are an important component of SEM’s partnership, including a joint grant application with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en; employment of Gitxsan elders resident in camp; and staff including First Nation instructors and team leaders/mentors. Graduates from more than 30 First Nation communities benefit both their community and the companies that work on their traditional territories.

Operating from a bush training camp, the school has 900 graduates. More than 65% are First Nations, with an employment rate of 70%. Through its partnerships and innovative training programs, the NWCC School of Exploration and Mining is building capacity, enabling local communities to benefit from exploration and mining activity.
Keywords: Aboriginal, Partnerships, Training
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