Mining industry slump forces students to look overseas for work

A downturn in the minerals industry is affecting students looking for work.
More than 250 students took part in the Mining Day conference held at Cambrian College in Sudbury on Feb. 12. (Chris Berube/CBC)

A downturn in the minerals industry is affecting students looking for work.

More than 250 mining students from across Sudbury gathered at Cambrian College on Wednesday to take part in Mining Day, an annual conference where hopeful mining sector workers meet with industry professionals.

Those professionals included representatives from Cementation Canada, the Ministry of Labour, Redpath, Sandvik, Stantec, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, the Technica Group and Vale.

The fourth annual event also brought together educators from Cambrian College, Collège Boréal, and Laurentian University.

With the mining industry in a downturn, one official said students should apply for opportunities overseas.

"You shouldn't be thinking of just staying and working in Sudbury,” said Claudine Beausoleil, a spokesperson with Laurentian's engineering school.

“The best thing to do is go out, to go out to Indonesia, Africa, all over the world to learn new trades. It's good for them to learn all the different kinds of mining."

'Keep on applying'

Beausoleil said Laurentian's placement rate has been high this year for graduates, despite the downturn in the mineral sector.

Sadie Bechamp, a mining engineering student in her last year at Laurentian, said she already has a bag packed, so she can move for work at any time.

"I have my mining equipment on standby,” she said. “I have … coveralls, and my boots and everything. Hard hats. Not much, I'm only tiny so it's a little bag."

Bechamp is considered a star mining student. But her chances of finding work close to home are not so bright.

Many of the employers who spoke at the event talked about an industry slow down.

Beausoleil said she counters that message by telling students to keep positive.

"You just keep on applying, keep on applying,” she said. “The industry with mining is cyclical. It's up and down."

And that’s why Beauchamp’s travel bag is ready to go.

"Maybe I'll be in Indonesia in 10 years. I don't know." 


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