Five Houston students graduated from the first-ever Mineral Processing Operator course that meets industry-designed occupational standards.
It took two years to organize the program, said Danielle Smyth, Project Administrator with the School of Exploration and Mining.
The 12-week entry level program was at the Houston campus of Northwest Community College, and was a pilot run with lots of industry support.
Guest speakers came from Red Chris Mine, Hatch Mott MacDonald and the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
Smyth says the program was developed “because of a need identified by industry.”
The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) put mineral and metal processing operators as a skills shortage in top demand, with over 2,000 job openings estimated by 2020, said a NWCC press release.
Smyth says the course gave students a general overview mineral processing and taught them safety and work skills.
It also included field trips to Huckleberry Mines, Endako Mine, Dome Mountain and Equity Silver Mine.
Student Louie Dalby says he really enjoyed it.
“Having the chance to see how the mine operates is awesome!” he said. “I feel the program gives us an edge on other potential employees who wouldn’t have the same training we received, especially the on-site training.”
Instructor Rob Boyce says the course went very well and he really enjoyed teaching in Houston.
“It was lots of fun,” said Boyce. “They’re a great group of students – patient, persistent and willing to learn.”
The capstone of the Houston course will be a week of job shadowing at Huckleberry Mines in December.
Boyce says he is proud and happy to wrap up the program and congratulate the students with certificates and awards.
“I anticipate they’ll find placements soon,” he said.