B.C. aboriginals entering mining industry in large numbers, report says – by Brian Morton (Vancouver Sun – July 23, 2013)

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B.C. aboriginals are entering the mining profession in growing numbers and a growing number of them are women, according to a report released Tuesday.

The PwC report conducted for the B.C. Aboriginal Mine Training Association also found that the dollars invested in training an aboriginal job candidate for a mining career resulted in a nearly 300-per-cent increase in annual wages for the employee, from an average of $13,754 to $52,959.

“So, for about a $15,000 investment in our employed candidates, they are contributing about $108,000 to the provincial GDP,” said association chief executive Laurie Sterritt on Tuesday. “That’s pretty impressive. There’s also a 280-per-cent increase in their salary levels, on average. “In addition to the obvious financial benefits, it provides them with confidence, empowerment, hope and possibilities, which changes lives.”

The report found that an investment of $14,808 trains one candidate and generates approximately $106,804 on average for the provincial economy through higher wages and increased spending. As well, each employed graduate generates about $20,000 in government revenue.

The report found that there were 1,533 aboriginals registered for training in mining careers during the past year, up from about 1,000 candidates the previous year. About one-third had found employment.

The report also found that there was one female mining candidate for every two male candidates.

“It shows we are finding the right supports to take down the barriers that kept women out of the workforce,” said Sterritt.

Sterritt said that just because most of those registered as job candidates had not found jobs does not detract from the program. She said many take a “longer path” to a full-time jobs through skills upgrading and pre-training options.

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