Sioux Lookout, ON: After its first full year, Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Partnership’s program has proven a clear success. The partnership supported the development of the Sioux Lookout Mining Centre of Excellence, through which over 227 students benefitted from training ranging from workshops to full programs. Some of these included Surface Diamond Driller Common Core, AZ Professional Driver, Environmental and Field Monitor, Underground Hard Rock Miner, Mining Essentials, and various customized trade programs.
Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation (SLFA-EDC), delivered funded intakes of programs using funds provided by the Ontario government. The training delivery was in partnership with Northern College’s Northern Training Division, Haileybury School of Mines, and the collaboration of various mining organizations to support work placements.
“Our government is taking action to tackle Ontario’s historic labour shortage with programs and services that help people train for well-paying jobs,” said the Honourable Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “I congratulate this year’s graduating class at Northern College and wish them luck as they launch their incredible careers. Our government will continue to invest in programs like this, which give workers in Northern Ontario a hand up to bigger pay cheques and build stronger communities.”
The partnership was created to support community and economic growth in Northwestern Ontario while keeping in mind those affected by the pandemic. A primary focus was on the training and development of First Nation peoples. At the end of the one year project, 52 per cent of the graduates self-identified as Indigenous.
“Our focus in this partnership was to provide accessible learning options to 146 people in a year’s time. By combining distance learning, innovative training, and hands-on projects, we were able to far exceed this goal by supporting the training of 227 people,” stated Christine Heavens, Northern College’s Executive Director, Community, Business Development, and Employment Services. “Northern College is proud of the partnership outcomes. Our collaborative efforts have helped fill in-demand mining sector jobs with a skilled workforce.”
This was the second graduation to celebrate successful students. The first graduation took place in February while the second graduation occurred in Sioux Lookout on March 31. During their training, many students also received funds to support their accommodations and food costs. Additionally, some students received a tool kit and PPE to help them get started in their new trade.
“During training, we overcame; I overcame my fear of heights and my fear of being too old to learn new skills,” commented Alicia Matinet, class valedictorian. “I’m taking all I learned and applying it to my new construction job. Thank you to all partners who made this program possible. This tuition-free program has given me the opportunity to be trained by brilliant people, build connections, and has made me realize that this is the career that I want.”
“This was our first big project and we were excited to bring all these programs and courses to the region. Sioux Lookout estimates that in the next 3 years there will be over 12,000 jobs to be filled by a skilled workforce,” commented Jacob Dockstator, Executive Director of Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation. “We couldn’t be prouder of our graduates. Our funded programs and partnerships focused on removing barriers to education. Many participants are already employed, and all students can start their new chapter without debt for their learning.”
“The goal of the partnership was to increase First Nation participation, opportunities, and inclusiveness in regional area mining projects,” stated Chief Bull of Lac Seul First Nation. “Graduates are proud of their learning and the communities are proud of them. We look forward to continued collaborations to support community-based learning.”
Kyle Gennings (he/him)
Communications & Government Relations Officer
Marketing, Communications, and External Relations
P. 705-235-3211 ext 2276
F. 705-235-6888C. 705-288-1101