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NWCC promotes First Nations and industry partnerships in Yukon

SMITHERS Northwest Community College (NWCC) is on the road again to talk about its award-winning School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) and the successful partnerships it has developed with First Nations and industry. Beverly Moore-Garcia, NWCC's Vice-President of Education and Student Services, was invited to present at the third annual Yukon First Nations Resource Conference & Student Job Fair in Whitehorse. The conference, which runs from March 20-21, is a chance for First Nations, governments and resource companies to learn best practices and techniques for working together in a cooperative and beneficial manner. "We went with three goals in mind," said Moore-Garcia, who presented yesterday, March 20. "First, we wanted attendees to understand that the SEM training model - which incorporates practical, hands-on and cultural learning in real life work camps works and why it works. Second, our graduates are skilled, certified and ready to enter the workforce. Third, NWCC is willing and able to deliver SEM programs in the Yukon and other remote areas." "The scope of exploration going on in the Yukon is exactly the type of work SEM students are trained for," said Tony Harris, SEM's Employment Advisor & Industry Liaison, who also attended the conference. "We actually expect some of our students will work in the Yukon this summer." Topics at the conference included working effectively with Aboriginal people, education and training, successful community outreach and engagement, and much more. Participants and attendees were comprised of First Nations leaders and elders, recruiters, engineering and environmental consultants, government personnel and financiers. In partnership with Smithers Exploration Group and the Province of BC, SEM develops industry-related courses and programs, and offers training in various areas of mining and exploration. Since its inception in 2004, the school has graduated more than 850 students, and 83 percent of grads have either found work or returned to school. Through workforce training for the exploration, mining and natural resource industries, Northwest Community Colleges School of Exploration & Mining seeks to build capacity and engagement in communities involved with minerals exploration and other resource development.

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