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Sparking towards a career
Second group of welding trade readiness students ready in Arviat

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Another group of Arviat trade readiness students are ready for the workforce.

NNSL photo/graphic

Matthew Curley is the picture of concentration as he tackles a job during a welding program in Arviat this past month. - photo courtesy of Michelle Malla

Adam Pingushat, Curtis Suluk, Ivan Mamgark, Matthew Curley, Cody Alareak and Alex Gibbons completed the second delivery of the Arviat Welding Trade Readiness program in the community this past month.

The program was delivered through a partnership between Northern College and the Hamlet of Arviat, with support being provided by the Kivalliq Mine Training Society, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and the Government of Nunavut.

The program is designed to prepare students for work in Nunavut's construction and mining industries.

The six new grads join seven from the first delivery of the program, who have already entered the workforce.

Arviat community economic development officer Keith Collier said the hamlet decided to conduct welding training on the suggestion of Agnico Eagle.

He said the company indicated it currently has lots of job opportunities for welder helpers.

"Once our guys get that foot in the door, there are other opportunities such as heavy duty mechanics and millwrights they could, potentially, get into," said Collier.

"All seven in our first welding class ended up working, so, obviously, we're looking for the same success rate with our second group.

"The first group moved around between jobs, so they're not all working at the Meadowbank mine, but, as of mid-December, they were all employed.

"They all found at least short-term employment upon finishing the welding course."

Collier said the various partners in the Arviat training program will come together this coming March.

He said during that meeting, representatives from the mining companies, training institutions and funding groups will talk about what the next step in the program should be.

"This past year, there was enough money available for us to do both drilling and welder training.

"We'll be looking at whether there's enough money to do both again this year, or if we want to look at something different.

"Agnico Eagle may be looking at doing some more exploration at its Amaruq site north of Meadowbank, and that might mean there will be more call for drillers, but I'm not entirely sure.

"It's still a bit too early to tell."

Collier said the March stakeholder's meeting is the foundation of the Arviat training program.

He said that's when industry tells the other partners where it expects to have jobs available, and the training starts to take shape from there.

"Overall, we're pretty happy with how things have gone since we've started these training programs.

"With the drilling right now - with the price of gold so low and exploration being really quiet - it hasn't been as busy as we'd like.

"But, there's been enough of the guys still finding work, even if it's seasonal or short-term work, that it's definitely been worth it.

"We're still looking to the future because we have the opportunity to do the training courses now, so, even if the job opportunities don't come along for a year or two, the guys are trained and ready to get them when they do appear."

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