This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
The Ontario Mining Association has been busy lately making sure teachers – and students – gain a better understanding of the mineral industry and the employment opportunities it offers. Lesley Hymers, OMA Environment and Education Specialist, carried the educational flag at three different outreach events recently.
On February 17, 2012, 85 teachers from the Toronto District School Board were guests of the University of Toronto’s Geology Department to learn more about the mineral industry and career options. It was a day dedicated to Earth science professional development.
Ms. Hymers ran a session focused on career education that presented the wide-range of job opportunities in mining. In addition to sharing mineral industry career themed hands-on learning activities with the teachers, she delivered a presentation that outlined a variety of career resources available to teachers from the OMA and partner organizations, including Skills Canada Ontario, the Mining Industry Human Resource Council (MiHR) and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s Mining Matters program.
“The feedback from the teachers was positive,” said Ms. Hymers. “Also, these educators were interested in and supportive of the OMA’s high school video competition So You Think You Know Mining, which this year is offering $33,500 in prize money to student film makers and their schools.”
On February, 28, 2012, more than 2,500 students from 50 schools attended the Toronto District School Board’s second annual RU Down With Skilled Trades Career Fair at the Better Living Centre on the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds. This event included design challenges for students, career presentations and information booths.
The OMA hosted a booth on this site and provided a mineral industry career themed presentation to teachers and students. Included in the mining employment opportunities were those careers featured in Skills Canada Ontario’s SKILLS WORK BOOK! – production miner, geological technician, health and safety technician, environmental technician, mine technologist and instrumentation and remote control technician.
While mentioning Skills Canada Ontario, Peter McBride, OMA Manager of Communications, was a judge at this organization’s provincial cardboard boat race competition in Waterloo on February 21, 2012. Cite Superieure high school in Marathon, which was sponsored by OMA member Barrick Hemlo Mines, earned the bronze medal in that event.
On March 4, 2012, Ms. Hymers supported the PDAC Mining Matters Special Education Event for Teachers. Sixty teachers were on hand for sessions exploring careers in mining and educational resources for teaching Earth science, mining, mineral and environmental components of school curricula.
The OMA knows it is extremely important to do its bit and spread the word amongst young people making career decisions about what mining offers. No matter what your view of future economic growth, Ontario’s mining sector is expected to require from 5,500 to 17,000 new workers by 2018. No one can shrink the skilled worker shortage singlehandedly but the broader engagement of many in the industry in education and outreach activities such as these mentioned above can help close the gap.