Lana Roeland, general manager for I&D Management Services Ltd., sits in front of a bank of computers at the firm's new Yellowknife training facility. - Stephan Burnett/NNSL photo
There are computer terminals with room for 10 students at the firm's new Franklin Avenue centre.
The Northern recruitment and human resources company, which was created in co-operation with Diavik nearly three years ago, has since diversified to help fill the need for workers skilled in areas ranging from finance and accounting to heavy equipment operation with other Northern employers, the company reports.
It was this expansion, as well as other potential future ventures, that created the need for the new facility.
"We have been working on a proposal specifically targeting literacy training," said Lana Roeland, general manager for I&D, adding poor literacy among equipment operators is currently creating a safety risk as warning signs cannot always be read.
The new program would specifically target would-be operators for whom English is a second language.
Over the past year at least 40 people have been put through the recruitment process by I&D.
Company president Alex Nitsiza said the company never would have made it to this stage without Diavik.
"Three years ago, Diavik agreed to contract its mining manpower to a consortium," he said. "We view this new facility as an opportunity to enhance the services currently provided to Diavik."
Roeland said the company is also looking to take over site orientation for anyone going to work for Diavik.
"When you go up (to the mine), you spend a day in orientation and we're proposing we do that off-site," said Roeland.
Although I&D was created with Diavik in mind, the service has grown to handle other clients such as Kete Whii/Procon for BHP Billiton's Ekati Mine and others.
A 100 per cent aboriginally-owned company, Roeland said I&D has a strong commitment to developing the workforce in communities.
"One of the challenges facing in the North is the shrinking labour market," she said.
"In the communities unemployment runs as high as 25 per cent," she said. "And that does not account for people not actively seeking work."
The results could be dramatic, she said. "The financial benefit will come if we have people better prepared," she said.