Many Indigenous workers in northern Manitoba depending on mining for employment, but workers may face multiple barriers to accessing the skills and training they need to succeed in the industry.
For many Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba, the mining industry is a major source of employment. However, these jobs are vulnerable to mine life cycles, market demand for commodities, and automation. Mining is steadily becoming a skilled occupation, so worker education and training must keep up with the skills required to do modern mining jobs.
Providing adequate educational and training opportunities for learners in remote and Indigenous communities faces a unique set of challenges, including geography, culture, and Internet access. Organizations that form part of the regional skills development ecosystem in northern Manitoba, including postsecondary institutions, governments, industry bodies, and learners, must all rise to the challenge of meeting current job needs while keeping an eye on the skills and training workers will need in the future.
Northern Manitoba’s skills development ecosystem revolves around a single post-secondary education (PSE) institution and a few large private sector employers. The policy environment is complex, which can complicate collaboration and innovation.
Organizations in this skills ecosystem are challenged to keep up with fluctuations in the mining sector. The local post-secondary institution can play a leadership role by connecting and coordinating the members of the ecosystem.
Developing job skills in remote populations is a multi-year process. When planning projects, mining companies need to engage early with Indigenous partners and take the long view.