Sudbury·Audio

Young workers lining up for lucrative, 'hands-on' mining jobs

Young people are turning to the mining and mineral exploration industry to land what they perceive is a well-paying job and a chance to do hands-on work.

CEMI official says he'd like to see more young people from southern Ontario work in mining

Paul Ricker took a mining engineering diploma at Cambrian College, and now the 33-year-old is working as a geomatics technician in Sudbury. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
How is the mining industry attracting a younger workforce? We continue our series on the state of mining in Northeastern Ontario with the story of how a young geologist got his start in the industry. 5:47

Young people are turning to the mining and mineral exploration industry to land what they perceive is a well-paying job and a chance to do hands-on work.

The executive director at Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines said he’s noticed more students interested in mining and geology.

"People increasingly are seeing it as a good job to get. As a wage sector, it's much higher than a lot of other sectors,” Bruce Jago said.

The Mining Association of Canada reports mining is the highest paid industry of all industrial sectors in Canada.

But the money isn't all that young people are after.

Just ask 22-year-old Julia Davis.

"I said I will never become a geologist, it is so boring, until I worked in the actual field."

Davis is currently working as a mine geologist near Matheson.

She plans to earn her professional geoscientist accreditation in the hopes of carving out a long career in the mines.

Jobs are limited

Paul Ricker spent years finding his passion and eventually received a mining engineering diploma at Cambrian College.

Now the 33-year-old is working as a geomatics technician in Sudbury.

"You're underground, you can touch the rock, you can see the machinery, and you can see the designs that you may have done up in the office,” he said.

But jobs are limited for people like Ricker.

The president and CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation said he'd like to see more young people from southern Ontario working in the industry.

And, Douglas Morrison said, he thinks it would help northern Ontario's economy.

“I think one of the important things for all of our communities in the north to try to do is to position ourselves as a very attractive place for people with technical skills in southern Ontario — whose industry is under stress — to move further north and participate in our industry and to improve the work that we do here,” Morrison said.

The average weekly pay for a mining worker in 2012 was more than $1,500.

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