Entrepreneurial and creative society
Mining requires a complex network of skills in engineering, business, and trades. These skills are developed by a strong educational system that teaches science, technology, engineering, financial literacy, business, math, social science and the arts. However, young people must also learn how to embrace change, take smart risks and be resourceful. In the workforce, a great way for young people to build technical competence while practicing these soft skills is through the long-term application under the advisement of a competent entrepreneur or business leader.
The Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) is a Business-Led Network Centre of Excellence comprised of mining industry leaders, academia, mining supply and service companies. UDMN believes in equipping entrepreneurs and young thought leaders with the right skills and experience for the future economy through active roles in UDMN supported projects. The concept of a business-led network provides a challenging environment that attracts the most skilled and creative thinkers, thus providing connectivity and global visibility to accelerate their careers.
For entrepreneurs, the task of training the next generation of entrepreneurs can be extremely valuable, but risky. When a promising young employee begins work, they often lack the experience and skills to perform at the same level as a tenured employee. Sometimes when an entrepreneur invests upfront in young employees (through training, education and mentoring), they decide to take their new skills and leave the company for a competitor or become an entrepreneur themselves (and perhaps a competitor).
It is important to train mining industry entrepreneurs the skills necessary to mentor young professionals, while also ensuring they have the right growth mindset necessary to value mentorship. This could mean direct, sector specific training and support for hiring, leadership, and implementing tactics for developing talent, along with courses on leadership for enabling business growth. By expanding Canadian entrepreneurs’ management capabilities, we secure the best trainers for the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs.
*Note: For information about the Ultra-Deep Mining Network, please visit: https://www.miningdeep.ca/
The global prediction is that there will be a skills shortage in mining. Soon, mining talent will become difficult to come by as a majority of skilled workers are earmarked for retirement. Attracting global mining talent to Canada is going to become difficult. Part of the challenge is also going to be exacerbated by a requirement to retain workers in Canada that may be attracted to other regions of the world. Therefore, Canada can attract and develop talent by:
- Streamlining the immigration of HQP with mining expertise e.g.: longer student visas.
- Support mining-based communities to provide much greater support to the families of newly-arrived employees.
- Provide the necessary level of support to improve the internet connectivity in smaller and more remote mining-based communities
- Support the expansion of mining innovation centre’s to attract world leading experts.
- Demonstrating that Canada invests sizeable funds in mining innovation as this opens the door to academics, businesses and innovators to pursue setting up a home base in Canada.
Already, mining is embracing autonomous equipment and mining operations are utilizing integrated communications, mining big data and starting to demand that the miner has higher skills sets. Canada will need to equip the youth of the future with the right skills for this transitioning industry. Here are a few options to help prepare the youth for future careers in mining:
- Create more opportunities for Coop placements within the industry for students.
- Greater access to underground mines sites for educational field trips
- Establish equal standards of education more broadly across the country but with a specific focus on preparing non-traditional employees such as women and indigenous groups with the skills necessary to work in a highly technical resource extraction industry.
- Make automation/robotics a mandatory requirement at the high school level.
- Teach computer sciences/programming as early as elementary school.
- Integrate the mining process in all high schools’ curriculum (some currently do this in Northern Ontario)
- Support organizations that are promoting and advancing mining innovations and skills development.
- Governments should expect a tangible financial return on their program investments that target the development, implementation and commercialization of innovation.
ie: Ten percent (10%) of Federal Government program investments should include a measured financial return on these investments beyond numbers of jobs and economic impact. If the Government invests $15,000,000 through the Centres of Excellence for the Commercialization of Research (NCE-CECR) program, there should be a $1,500,000 returned over a five year period to the Federal Government as an initial investor.
- Create new programs focused on funding the acceleration of mining innovation through to commercial success.
- Create a reward system for companies that solve major environmental challenges in the resource industries.