Recruitment and Retention Leading Practices

Skills Development
Skills development is an essential element in meeting future mining labour market demands. Over the last decade, the Canadian mining industry has expanded the opportunities for individuals to develop skills needed for the mining industry. This has included the development of dedicated mining-related education programs at community colleges and universities as well as custom designed training programs operated by Aboriginal economic and human resources development institutions.

A recently approved project in Yukon Territory illustrates the elements of a "skills development" project. It involves many governmental and non-governmental partners. Through this initiative, the Yukon Mine Training Association (YMTA) has partnered with Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Government of Yukon, industry and Aboriginal communities and other non-governmental organizations to develop and implement the "Partnership, People, and Production: Get into It" project. Through this project, Aboriginal people will gain the skills they need to succeed in the mining industry and other resource-based sectors in the Yukon.

This Yukon-based project offers a good model for other partnership arrangements that are inclusive and driven by Aboriginal communities themselves. Over the past decade, Aboriginal communities have become highly effective in leveraging resources and in working directly with industry to develop practical and results-oriented skills development and employment strategies.

Job Shadowing
Job shadowing is becoming more recognized and promoted in the mining sector. Several communities and private sector companies have established job shadowing opportunities in their workplaces. In many cases, job shadowing is an informal practice but is recognized as having significant potential in helping young people know what opportunities are there for them and to raise overall awareness about these opportunities. If they are interested in establishing mining industry job shadowing initiatives, Aboriginal organizations might consider developing joint strategies with key industry representatives. This is one example of the practices that result in raising awareness and in generating interest about career opportunities in mining that communities can design and develop in line with community needs and aspirations.

Mentorship Programs
Mentorship is a proven technique in Canada for increasing workers' employability and skills development. It is promoted by Aboriginal human resources development officials as a way of increasing skill levels by offering Aboriginal mentors, in a work environment, to those entering the workplace. Not only is this an opportunity for new employees to learn on the job, it is also an opportunity for them to share concerns and seek advice or assistance from those who are succeeding in that particular workplace. The mining industry also operates a virtual mentoring program for post secondary students and mine employees.

Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining
In today's tightening market it is important for the mining sector to be able to effectively adapt its workplace attraction, recruitment and retention approaches for Aboriginal people. There is a growing recognition in the industry that workplaces need to better access, accommodate and incorporate the untapped Aboriginal labour force. Specific strategies need to be in place. It is now widely acknowledged that the leading practice in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal workers is to ensure that the workforce is inclusive and that its policies reflect culturally appropriate approaches. To facilitate better attraction, recruitment and retention, human resources practitioners and other employment development organizations should engage with mining sector employers to update their human resources policies and practices.

A resource for this purpose is Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining. This tool, a product of Mining Industry Human Resources Council and the Aboriginal Human Resources Council, includes fives modules:

  • The Business Case for Aboriginal Inclusion
  • History's Pendulum from Exclusion to Inclusion
  • Communicating Across Cultures
  • Recruitment, Retention and Advancement
  • Partnerships and Alliances

Aboriginal Human Resources Council:

Conferences and Career Fairs
There are many ways that Aboriginal communities and mining interests have worked together. One of the best ways to become involved with mining associations and other industry players is to take part in a number of mining events that are held annually at the international, national and regional levels. Attendance at annual national and regional mining conferences can be a good starting point for communities interested in learning more about the mining industry and how to participate in mining. Information on the most notable national conferences can be found on the following national association websites: