The federal government recently announced $2.5 million in funding for Northlands College in northern Saskatchewan to help create the Northlands College Mine School and to support mining skills-training.
Northlands will use the funds to purchase heavy equipment simulators and build a new facility to house the simulators, which enable students to operate heavy machinery virtually and learn how to handle emergencies.
The simulators will assist in training for the Master Driller program, as well as on-the-job skill demonstration for certification.
The announcement was made July 30, 2014 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the La Ronge campus of Northlands.
"The rapidly expanding mining industry in northern Saskatchewan is creating increased demand for local skilled workers," Harper said.
"Our government's investment for Northlands College will help students gain the training they need to access the jobs and prosperity being generated by the industry."
The new Mine School will also include lab facilities, which will allow Northlands College to contribute to research initiatives in mining exploration and mine operation in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology and the University of Saskatchewan.
Almost one in every 16 jobs in Saskatchewan comes directly or indirectly from mining. It is expected that this statistic will rise to one in five jobs by 2028.
Finding experienced and skilled mining employees is becoming increasingly difficult in Saskatchewan, while industry demand continues to grow.
Northlands College will focus on recruiting northern residents, as well as Aboriginal students from across Saskatchewan, for the new mining programs.
Construction of the facility to house the simulators is expected to be completed by December 2016.
Northlands College prepares residents of northern Saskatchewan to participate in the labour market, and help industry meet its labour force needs.
It provides educational programs in such fields as basic education, technical and vocational training and university courses. In addition to La Ronge, Northlands has campuses in Buffalo Narrows and Creighton. Some programing is provided in various communities .