By The Mining Industry Human Resources Council
Mining is an essential industry in our modern day lives and key to a safer, greener, and more connected world. Canada’s mining sector produces over 60 minerals and metals that are not only crucial to our way of life today, but to the transition to a clean economy.
Yet Canada’s mining sector is facing a tightening labour market, compounded by an aging workforce, negative youth perceptions of mining careers, and shrinking post-secondary mining programs. Labour market analysis by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) shows that the unemployment rate in mining is historically low, with unfilled positions in the sector nearing 10,000 vacancies. Additionally, undergraduate enrollment in mining engineering programs has experienced the largest decline of any post-secondary engineering discipline, with a decrease of 42 per cent from 2014 to 2020. Geological engineering enrollment also decreased by 36 per cent in the same time frame, along with other mining related programs.
Canada depends on mining and mining depends on its workforce. Canada’s minerals and metals sector must increase its labour pool and talent pipeline to meet the continuously increasing demand for critical mineral and metals needed for a clean economy.
MiHR is taking action to increase interest in mining careers and transform perceptions of the industry through the National Youth Mining Career Awareness Strategy 2021-2026 and subsequent We Need Mining. Mining Needs You. career awareness campaign.
Aligned with the national strategy, MiHR launched the We Need Mining. Mining Needs You. Career Ambassador Program in partnership with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) in September 2022. The program aims to raise awareness among diverse youth and key influencers about the career opportunities mining offers and the sector’s role in environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and technological innovation. It connects knowledgeable and enthusiastic Career Ambassadors to youth through in person and virtual speaking engagements to increase awareness, improve perceptions, and encourage pursuit of careers in mining.
Career Ambassadors volunteer to participate in the program and are selected based on their knowledge of the sector and their passion and dedication to its innovative and progressive future. They receive benefits such as enhanced profile within MiHR and CIM publications, websites and social media platforms – and formal recognition on an annual basis in the CIM Magazine.
Initiatives like the Career Ambassador Program and industry’s involvement in them are crucial to solving the mining industry’s labour market challenges. Attracting, recruiting, and developing the next generation of workers is vital to mining’s sustainability and growth. It is imperative that we as an industry work to correct historical perceptions and inform youth of mining’s role in a clean economy and what it means to be part of this rewarding and important workforce.
Join MiHR and CIM in this important initiative to inspire Canada’s next generation of mining workers by signing up to be a Career Ambassador today at MiningNeedsYou.ca.