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Teck’s Greenhills Operation workers certified in industry pilot
Several employees from Teck Resources Limited’s Greenhills Operation today joined their Highland Valley Copper peers by receiving national certification through the Canadian Mining Credentials Program. Developed by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) and members of industry, the program is the cornerstone of the mining industry’s efforts to recognize the skills, knowledge and experience of its workforce.
The group represents a selection of Canada’s first underground miners, surface miners and minerals processing operators to achieve nationally recognized certification. Teck’s Greenhills employees received Level 1 certification as Minerals Processing Operators while twelve participants at Highland Valley Copper received certification as either Level 1 or Level 2 Minerals Processing Operators at the beginning of March in a recognition ceremony which took place onsite.
This is an historic event in Canadian mining because until now, unlike the trades, skilled workers in these occupations have never before been awarded an industry-recognized credential that supports mobility and retention within the mining workforce.
Greenhills employees who have achieved certification were awarded certificates in a recognition ceremony which took place April 8 at the corporate office in Sparwood, BC. Teck Resources Limited representatives in attendance were Jim Utley, Vice President, Human Resources, Dean Runzer, General Manager, Blaine Beranek, Superintendent, Processing and Glen Campbell, Manager, Human Resources.
Certification is something both employers and workers have been waiting for. “New employees in the industry are often looking for those opportunities that recognize them for the skill set they developed that are transferrable throughout the industry,” explains Dean Runzer, General Manager for Teck Resources Limited.
Teck’s Greenhills Operation and its Highland Valley Copper Mine are two of seven sites that participated in the certification pilot across Canada in 2010. Other participating sites include: Bathurst, New Brunswick, Sudbury, Ontario and Trout Lake, Manitoba, Diamond Mine, Northwest Territories, Kemess South Mine, British Columbia
MiHR’s latest research estimates between now and 2020, the mining industry will require approximately 100,000 workers to support growth in the industry and replace retiring workers. Approximately 20 per cent of these new hires will be required in skilled occupations that have, until now, lacked a national recognition system, including production miners, development miners, heavy equipment operators and mill operators.
The certification program will be an essential component in increasing and retaining the valuable skills required to keep the mining industry sustainable. Without a formal credentialing framework for these jobs, employers may struggle to evaluate the qualifications of experienced candidates and may end up wasting time and resources retraining new hires in areas where they have already demonstrated competency in the workplace. Furthermore, employees with skills sets that are not recognized by their industry can become frustrated and may seek opportunities elsewhere. A recent MiHR survey of mining industry employers revealed that turnover in these occupations is almost twice as high as other mining sector jobs.
Canadian Mining Credentials Program
The Canadian Mining Credentials Program is the cornerstone of the mining industry’s efforts to recognize the skills, knowledge and experience of mining workers, provide workers with portable credentials, accredit training programs for mining workers and enable employers to accurately and consistently verify the skills and experience of job applicants and support ongoing professional recognition for their employees.
The program is founded on a set of mining industry National Occupational Standards. So far, National Occupational Standards have been developed for three key mining occupational areas: Underground Mining, Surface Mining and Minerals Processor Operations. National Occupational Standards for Diamond Drilling are currently being developed. The National Occupational Standards provide the basis for the certification program.