The Aboriginal Mining Education Forum took place on November 20th and 21st in Toronto and attracted over 150 attendees from various mining/exploration companies, Aboriginal organizations, educational institutions and governments. The event was a great success, creating a dialogue between these groups to increase the understanding of the issues and share solutions for improved Aboriginal education outcomes leading to employment in the Canadian mining sector. This highly interactive event allowed delegates to network over the course of two days, forming connections that will last beyond the Forum.
Delegates heard from the Professional Perspectives Panel, which featured a number of experts from educational institutions, Aboriginal organizations and mining/mineral companies who were eager to share their insight.
The Keynote Speaker, Glenn Nolan, President of the PDAC and Vice-President at Noront Resources, brought his sectoral expertise during the keynote address, where he stressed the importance of partnership between industry, education and community in order to positively impact Aboriginal mining communities across Canada.
Mr. Nolan took this opportunity to reflect on the importance of mutual understanding between these three groups. “What we are trying to do is promote greater participation by Aboriginal people; what can we do to be more respectful and more sensitive to the issues within the Aboriginal communities but also, what can we do to learn from the Aboriginal communities about their issues, so that we can be more respectful, we can understand and adapt our programs to meet their concerns?” He acknowledged the cultural sensitivity that is needed to make these collaborative efforts a success.
Participants played an important role during the forum, particularly during the Break-out Circles where people tackled a number of key issues pertaining to Aboriginal peoples in Canada’s mining industry. Specifically, they dealt with motivating learners, increasing awareness of career options and creating support systems. Delegates were asked to commit to one post-forum action that would help address the many challenges faced by mining communities and companies alike. A research report discussing the various findings at the event will be made available in early 2013.
To keep the conversations going post-Forum, MiHR is also developing an online Aboriginal Educators Network. Email Melanie Sturk, Director, Attraction, Retention and Transition, if you are interested in joining this network. To access resources and information related to increasing Aboriginal inclusion in mining, please visit www.aboriginalmining.ca.
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