The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The shortage of skilled tradespeople is paying off for two-dozen apprentices at Cambrian College. The apprentice millwrights and heavy-duty equipment technicians are starting work this month at Vale Ltd.’s Sudbury operations.
It is not unusual for Vale to hire 20-40 apprentices in a year, said Garwin Pitman, superintendent of learning and development maintenance at Vale.
But it is out of the ordinary to hire that many at one time, he said. Pitman was inter viewing potential apprentices Thursday just after the announcement was made in the morning at Cambrian College.
Mining and other industries are experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople, partly because there are so many new projects in development. Vale is looking to hire another three dozen tradespeople, some of them apprentices, this fall, said Pitman.
Cambrian students come to Vale “very qualified,” said Pitman. “Cambrian College does a very good job of training them.”
The apprenticeship programs at Cambrian provide two, three-month work cooperative placements during which students receive handson training and have an opportunity to see if mining or other industries are the sectors in which they wish to work.
“The co-op (student) gets to see what the trade is like and the mining industry is about,” and Vale gets to find out what kind of worker the student is, “so it’s a win-win for both,” said Pitman.
Apprentices that come to Vale from Cambrian are exposed to a variety of different duties that help them get the experience they require to become qualified.
Millwrights are mechanics who work on “any piece of equipment that’s tied down,” said Pitman.
Heavy-duty mechanics fix equipment that’s on wheels.
Both trades are in demand at Vale.
Pitman started as a millwright apprentice himself and has been with the mining company for 24 years, and has spent years training employees.
A trade is a good line of work to get into for anyone who likes to work with their hands, said Pitman.
“It’s given me a good life. I’m happy I went down that route,” said Pitman.
Vale hired another 10 apprentices earlier this year.
It is also working on a partnership with College Boreal to take some of its students and will next year give the Frenchlanguage college “equal opportunity” to do their apprenticeships at Vale, he said.
Earlier this year, Vale was advertising 400 job vacancies at its Canadian operations. Vale Sudbury spokeswoman Danica Pagnutti said about 200 of those positions have been filled, and Vale is looking to fill the remaining posts by the end of the year.
Louse Turcotte is excited that Cambrian students are getting the opportunity to get handson training at Vale.
Turcotte is associate dean in the School of Community and Corporate Learning at Cambrian College.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/08/17/vale-gets-new-blood