Mine workers’ training gets hands-on

Elk Valley residents hoping to work in the mines will now have access to the latest mining truck haul simulators to help with their training

  • Mar. 12, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Elk Valley residents hoping to work in the mines will now have access to the latest mining truck haul simulators to help with their training at College of the Rockies.

The college has received over a million dollars to buy five simulators, which will train entry-level workers in the mining sector, plus a truck and trailer to transport the equipment between campuses to ensure that as many students as possible benefit from the new equipment.

Compared to training on an actual machine, simulation-based training allows students to engage in maneuvers or operational situations that may be dangerous to perform.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding,” said Dr. Nick Rubidge, President and CEO, College of the Rockies.

“This is good news for not only the college but for students looking to learn here in the Kootenays. The simulators will prepare our students for job opportunities across the province.”

The B.C. government invested $580,000 to support the program, and the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) invested $560,000. The college has been working closely with both partners and with industry to ensure they can put the latest tools in the hands of B.C. students.

“The mining industry plays an integral part in British Columbia’s economy,” said David Wilks, Member of Parliament of Kootenay-Columbia, who joined Minister Yelich for the announcement on Saturday. “Our Government’s support for the College of the Rockies will help our region take advantage of the opportunities and jobs in the mining sector so our region can thrive.”

The provincial government funding is part of $17 million announced last September for public post-secondary institutions around the province to upgrade skills training equipment.

“Our resource industries remain a key part of B.C.’s economy,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

“It’s vital that the right trades training equipment is available to our post-secondary institutions to ensure students enter the labour market with the skills the sector needs. “This funding will enable the college to continue their excellent work, training students for the mining industry’s needs today and in the future.”

A 2012 report by the Mining Industry Human Resources council in conjunction with the Mining Association of B.C. indicated that the top two mining sector in-demand occupations in the next 10 years will be heavy-equipment operators and truck drivers. Their forecast indicates that of 11,330 workers needed in the B.C. mining industry, 6,370 will be needed in the Kootenays.