Yukoners check out job opportunities at Eagle Gold mining project

Potential job seekers were able to talk to major employers at the mine site and ask about training at Yukon College.

Potential job seekers were able to talk to major employers at the mine site and ask about training

The job fair for the Eagle Gold project was at Yukon College's Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining in Whitehorse. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Dozens of people turned out for a career fair, organized by the Nacho Nyäk Dun First Nation at Yukon College in Whitehorse Tuesday, to apply for jobs and ask about future opportunities at the Eagle Gold mine project north of Mayo, Yukon.

It's probably a first for a mining company and its various contractors to participate in an event like this at Yukon College, according to Jennifer Byram, a vice-president at Whitehorse based Pelly Construction.

"I have not seen anything like this in the Yukon, where contractors got together and with the Yukon College and put on a fair with the idea of hiring as many Yukoners as we could and reaching out to the different groups, " said Byram.

Jennifer Byram, far left and Rosemary Smith, far right, talking about job prospects at the job fair for the Eagle Gold mine project. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

"So if you want to be a cook, a surveyor or an equipment operator, you can come here and apply," she said.

Byram said people were typically asking about the hours of work, what jobs will be available and what kind of equipment Pelly Construction uses.

It is the primary contractor on the site building the open pit for the mine.

Byram said the company has begun clearing brush from the site, with more heavy equipment arriving this week to begin excavation.

She said it's hiring 30 people initially and 120 in phase two. Byram said Pelly Construction generally has trouble filling all of its job vacancies in the Yukon.

The Nacho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation, owned by the Nacho Nyäk Dun First Nation, has contracts at the mine, as well as various agreements with the company to provide training and scholarships.

Natasha Young, far left, and Bud Rich, far right, were on hand to answer questions about job and training opportunities. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

The First Nation is hosting another job fair on Thursday at its administration offices in Mayo, said Natasha Young, the First Nation's liaison with the owner of the mine, Victoria Gold Corp..

"If they've got the right training and skills, then they're pretty much guaranteed a job, and if they don't, then working with those citizens and individuals to get them the training and skills to get into the camp and get a job," said Young.

The college's Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining provides training for mining related jobs, like operating heavy equipment. It can also provided a customized training program for specific projects.

Rosemary Smith, a Kwanlin Dun First member in Whitehorse, said she wants to become a rock truck driver at the mine.

"Town, nothing much is happening here, there's not much here, so might as well as go out in the bush," said Smith.

Jolene Smarch, also of Whitehorse and has training on heavy equipment, said she appreciated the chance to talk directly to employers.

"You get to see the people in public and talk to them, whereas you're just emailing your resume and you don't get no response, or you don't know if they got it, it's like talking to a machine," said Smarch.

Victoria Gold's Eagle Gold deposit is in central Yukon about 85 kilometres northeast of Mayo. (YESAB)

Bud Rich, representing B.C. based Summit Camps, said he had six to eight positions available this week.

The company is building the camp at the mine and is also providing catering services. This project is special for him, he was born and raised in Mayo.

"For us, our company, it's great to get local people out and to work and be in the community and that, it's also great to be able to go with some positive news to a place I call home, like Mayo," said Rich.

Construction of the Eagle Gold Mine north of Mayo, Yukon, began in mid-August. (Victoria Gold)

With files from Mike Rudyk