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NWCC & CNC offer joint mining exploration program in Mackenzie

NWCC & CNC partner

Northwest Community College (NWCC) has partnered with the College of New Caledonia (CNC) to bring a new mineral exploration training program to northeast British Columbia. The Mining Exploration Field Assistant (MEFA) program offers field assistant training for the booming exploration industry. "This co-operative venture between CNC and NWCC shows that community colleges are the obvious choice for bringing entry-level training to the First Nations and local residents in the province," says Ralph Troschke, CNC President. "MEFA was developed by NWCC's School of Exploration and Mining in response to the growing need for skilled workers," explains NWCC President Stephanie Forsyth. "The program answers that need by providing job-ready graduates who have received practical training under real conditions, with instruction by industry experts. Expanding the delivery of the program through our partnership with CNC ensures more people around the province are able to take advantage of the many employment opportunities of this burgeoning industry." Last year this program was offered around northwest BC and produced more than 90 graduates. Over 50% of the grads found immediate employment in the resource sector, with one-third obtaining jobs in the mineral exploration industry. In 2005, the Central part of the province, including Prince George and Mackenzie, saw exploration expenditures of more than $30 million. That investment created more than 760 seasonal jobs in the area. Exploration spending across BC is expected to increase in 2006, driven by the exploding market for BC metals in China and low supply levels. MEFA will be offered from April 25 to May 1 in a bush camp setting near Mackenzie. Students will learn everything from wilderness safety, to GPS and navigational skills, to diamond drill core splitting. Once the camp ends, students will have access to the Mackenzie Employment and Career Centre; where an advisor will provide assistance with resume preparation, interviewing and job searches. The Mining Exploration Field Assistant program is funded through a grant from the provincial Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. That subsidy allows CNC to offer the course for only $500 per student, which includes all living and training costs for eight days.

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