Mining task force works to fill labour shortages

Experts are predicting a skilled labour shortage of 160,000 in Canada by 2015.

Experts are predicting a skilled labour shortage of 160,000 in Canada by 2015, according to a March 8 report by the B.C. Industry Training Authority.

It may be hard to believe with Canada’s unemployment rate running around 7 per cent (in May) that the country’s mining industry is already suffering a serious shortage of workers that is expected to continue for the next 20 years.

Human resources superintendents Paul Allan at Mount Polley and Don Martin at Gibraltar Mines say they already have difficulty finding heavy duty mechanics, electricians, millwrights and other skilled workers.

Allan says the main labour shortage is for heavy duty mechanics, welders, electricians and millwrights.

Recognizing that attracting skilled workers to the industry can only get more difficult in the coming years the B.C. Mineral Exploration and Mining Industry Labour Shortage Task Force was formed in 2008 to look at ways of addressing the problem on several fronts.

One of the ways the task force is working to recruit workers is through an education  sub-committee which is chaired by lakecity teacher Gordon Armour, School District 27’s, coordinator for transition, training and trades programs.

Armour says the education committee is comprised of about eight representatives from industry and educational sectors who have been developing educational programs and resource materials designed to introduce students to potential careers in the mining industry right from Kindergarten through Grade 12 and beyond.

For more on how the mining industry is working to reduce the labour shortage in B.C. turn to page A5.

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