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SEM's decade of success


Vancouver, B.C., January 28, 2014 – Northwest Community College School of Exploration & Mining (NWCC SEM) chose the Association for Mineral Exploration BC’s annual Mineral Exploration Roundup 2014 in Vancouver to launch a year-long celebration of a decade of success.   NWCC SEM will host an afternoon reception in the Gathering Place at Roundup to thank its many supporters for making SEM’s 1st decade so successful.   The Roundup conference annually attracts approximately 6500 registrants from the exploration and mining sectors, along with many representatives from government, education and training, and goods and services suppliers to both industries.

Since NWCC SEM beginning in 2004 it has welcomed more than 1200 students with an 89% graduation rate, and the vast majority have successfully transitioned to employment or further training.   More than 70% of NWCC SEM’s graduates are aboriginal. NWCC SEM has also won 7 awards during its 1st decade including, the 2011 Mining and Sustainability award from the Mining Association of Canada, the 2010 Partnership Award from the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence awards program and in 2010, the Conference Board of Canada’s the Global Best Award in the Partnership category.

NWCC SEM Projects Administrator, Danielle Smyth said “we chose Roundup to kick-off the year-long celebration because the conference brings together so many NWCC SEM supporters from industry, government First Nations and communities.  We felt it was important to share our successes with those who have supported our programs.  NWCC SEM has achieved success due to its ability to build partnerships and customize training to meet the needs of industry who employ our graduates. Our partners include federal and provincial government agencies, individual exploration and mining companies, associations such as AMEBC and MABC, other post-secondary institutions and training agencies such as BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association.   NWCC SEM has developed a very special and collaborative relationship with aboriginal people and communities in Northwest BC, across the North and across Canada in Nunavut, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.   Supporting our students for the past decade and sharing our learnings with others across Canada I believe is one of NWCC SEM’s notable achievements.”

The Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) is NWCC SEM’s founding industry partner. President Rob Boyce says “SEG is especially proud of its partnership as co-founder of the School of Exploration and Mining.  We are a relatively small industry organization, so when we approached Northwest Community College about starting a school, it was something very new for us.  But we knew that if the industry in northern BC was going to grow and prosper we had to help local communities and First Nations understand it and learn skills to participate in the workforce. We appreciate the excellent support from our member companies and from the provincial and federal governments. But probably we are most excited about bringing many trained aboriginal workers into our crews across the province.”

Harvey Tremblay is the President of Hy-Tech Drilling in Smithers.  He says “As a member of the Advisory Committee for the School, I have watched how well it responds to the training needs of the minerals industry. Over the past ten years, it has focused on preparing students to work in the exploration industry. Now the School is expanding to respond to the needs of operating mines, as well as other natural resource industries that are helping to build the economy of British Columbia. I am thrilled to be helping build the future of the School.”

Another hallmark of NWCC SEM is that it provides students with transferrable skills that can be applied not only in the exploration and mining sectors, but forestry, road building, power-lines, pipelines and energy sectors.   NWCC SEM is known as an exploration and mining school but it’s much, much more.   In its 2nd decade of operation, NWCC plans to be an active participant in providing skills training to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry and train students to work in this dynamic field.   

NWCC SEM has already started down this path with the successful delivery of a pilot project last fall in which 16 high school students from School District 54 in Smithers graduated from the Environmental Monitoring Assistant Program (EMAP).   NWCC SEM and School District 54 were so pleased at the results they have committed to partnering to offer the unique and innovative program for the next two years.

Background Information

Northwest Community College is an accredited post-secondary institution offering comprehensive education and training to the 34 urban, rural and remote communities of northwestern BC. Through an innovative distributed learning model that includes nine campuses/learning centres, current technology, mobile units, and successful partnerships, NWCC brings relevant education and training directly to where it is needed. NWCC is a recognized leader in Aboriginal education where Aboriginal people make up roughly 40 per cent of the student body. NWCC celebrates the diversity of its northern and Aboriginal populations and reflects this in its programs, services and workforce. To learn more, visit  



For more information please contact:
Danielle Smyth BSc MNRES
Projects Administrator
School of Exploration & Mining
Northwest Community College
Box 3606 Smithers, BC V0J 2N0
(C) 250.877.2695

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