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Mining training partnership

BC Mining HR Task Force


Community College, School District and Industry Partners Team Up to Address Skills Shortages with Innovative Environmental Monitor Program

In a partnership made possible with funding from the BC Mining HR Task Force, Northwest Community College’s School of Exploration and Mining; School District 54; Imperial Metals Corporation; the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation; the Office of the Wet’suwet’en; and the Smithers Exploration Group, will offer a pilot delivery of the dual credit Environmental Monitor Assistant Program (EMAP) in Smithers starting this September.

Built on recognized environmental best practices and input from the exploration, mining and natural resources industries, the EMAP program offers grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to gain employable skills while also achieving credit towards their high school graduation requirements. This innovative approach to programming represents a shift in the realm of secondary education and is meeting the need for providing flexible, engaging and hands-on learning experiences for youth.

“The EMAP program represents a fundamental shift in the education system”, said Michael McDiarmid, Assistant Superintendent, School District 54, “it offers seamless learning opportunities that are flexible and responsive that will benefit both our students and employers”.

In addition to developing the technical skills needed for employment as environmental monitors, the 16 participants will also gain an understanding of careers in mining, knowledge of the exploration and mining sectors including mine reclamation, job search skills and the importance of cultural resource management. The program will be instructed by professionals from the industry and enriched with guest speakers, field trips and mine tours.

Providing opportunities for youth to simultaneously work towards a secondary school diploma and college credentials is critical to meeting BC’s labour market challenge and also contributes to the Province’s comprehensive approach to education. “Expanding opportunities for students to begin apprenticeships before graduation and earn graduation credits that can also be applied to the completion of a trades or technical program is a goal identified in BC’s Skills Training Plan” said Gordon Armour, Chair of education initiatives with the BC Mining HR Task Force. “The Dual Credit EMAP pilot program directly contributes to this goal”.

A skilled, job-ready and engaged workforce is something that the mining industry in BC greatly needs. Vice-President of Exploration with Imperial Metals Corporation, Patrick McAndless, speaks highly of NWCC’s initiative in delivering this pilot program. “Hiring requirements for all mining sectors in BC, over the next 10 years, are projected to be in the thousands of workers under a baseline scenario”, commented Mr. McAndless. “Imperial Metals Corporation recognizes the direct link between supporting training and education and the sustainability of our industry”. 

Two critical factors in launching the Dual Credit EMAP program have been collaboration and partnerships. “By bringing together educational institutions, government, communities and industry, youth in northwest BC have been provided with an opportunity that would otherwise not have been possible”, noted Dr. Denise Henning, President and CEO, Northwest Community College.

Previous deliveries of the post-secondary EMAP program have taken place in a camp setting and have led to NWCC’s School of Exploration & Mining receiving several awards in recognition of its excellence in sustainability and partnerships.  The current pilot delivery provides dual credit for secondary school students, geared toward increasing the number of students in the K-12 sector earning graduation credit that is also applied to post-secondary training. The program will serve to shape future programs across the province by improving closer coordination between the K-12 sector, post-secondary institutions and industry.

About Northwest Community College
Northwest Community College (NWCC) is an accredited post-secondary education institution that offers comprehensive and innovative courses and programs to the northwest region of British Columbia with campuses in Haida Gwaii (Skidegate, Masset, Village of Queen Charlotte), Hazelton, Houston, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Smithers and Terrace. NWCC celebrates the diversity of its northern and First Nations populations and reflects this diversity in its programs, services and workforce. Stay up-to-date on NWCC news and events at Follow our Twitter feed at and like us at

About the BC HR Task Force: Exploration, Mining, Stone, Sand & Gravel
The BC HR Task Force: Exploration, Mining, Stone, Sand & Gravel (BC Mining HR Task Force) was initially formed in 2007 to identify the labour shortage facing the industry in B.C. Following identifying the looming shortage (14,000+ new hires by 2022), the BC Task Force expanded its mission to include planning, developing and implementing pilot programs to ensure the mining industry in B.C. has the human resources needed to support the growth of the sector. Initiatives are funded and supported largely through the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Development Agreement. The BC Task Force is a broad sector partnership involving over 40 senior business leaders, employee representatives, Aboriginal representatives and industry associations from the B.C. mining industry, along with representation from training and education providers and government agencies as needed.

Contact Information:
Danielle Smyth
Projects Administrator
School of Exploration & Mining, Northwest Community College

Debra Wall
Acting Manager
Communications and Public Relations, Northwest Community College




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