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Exploration training programs begin in the Northwest

Exploration training begins

More exploration training programs will be available to residents of northwest BC as Northwest Community College's (NWCC) School of Exploration and Mining begins its second year of program offerings. "Through continued Government support and partnership with Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) we have been able to expand the School's first year program offerings as well as introduce new training opportunities," explains NWCC president, Stephanie Forsyth. "The northwest continues to be the primary hub of exploration activity within the Province and together with SEG we are able to build local capacity to meet the high industry demand for skilled workers." The School's programs include: Camp Manager, Prospector Basic Training, Driller's Helper, and Mining Exploration Field Assistant. The first available program offering is the new Camp Manager. Beginning March 13 in Terrace, this higher-level, eight-day class is aimed at training students to run the bush camps that are the backbone of the mineral exploration industry. Students will have to acquire a number of safety, transportation and equipment certificates before the actual field training begins. The program targets people who have experience in the bush, and want to enhance those skills to a camp manager level. "Last year we trained people to live and work in bush camps," explains Smithers Exploration Group president Gary Thompson. "This new camp manager course will actually train people on how to plan for a camp, set it up, and run it." Prospector Basic Training will return with a program offering scheduled in Houston April 18. It includes on-line staking, claim management and traditional field prospecting skills. The two-week Driller's Helper program continues in partnership with Hy-Tech Drilling Ltd. This pre-employment program prepares individuals for the safety and operational demands of working in the field of hard rock diamond drilling. It runs for two weeks starting April 25 in Smithers. An expanded Mining Exploration Field Assistant program replaces last year's Basic Mining Exploration program. This new eight-day program provides students with entry-level skills for the mineral exploration industry and includes GPS, map, compass and note-taking basics; wilderness safety and survival; safety and field communications; grid layout methods; basic rock and soil sampling techniques and core splitting. The program is delivered in the bush camp classroom setting and will be offered in Terrace, Mackenzie, Bulkley Valley and Dease Lake between April, May and June. Last year the School graduated almost 90 field assistants with 50 percent of them finding immediate work in the resources industries. Northwest Community College and Smithers Exploration Group are partners in the School of Exploration and Mining, based out of Smithers. The Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources has supported the partnership with two consecutive grants - $360,000 in 2005 and $300,000 in 2006. For more information on the NWCC School of Exploration and Mining and its program offerings, or for contact information on 2005 graduates, contact Industry Training and Employment Officer Tracy Moore at 250-847-4461, toll-free at 1-877-277-2288 local 5822, or tmoore@nwcc.bc.ca Program information can also be found on the College web site at www.nwcc.bc.ca

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