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Training for jobs

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Nov 01/06) - Organizers continue to refine a program that may land good jobs for a number of Inuit at the Meadowbank gold project near Baker Lake.

A group of 12 Inuit representing six Kivalliq hamlets are currently taking heavy-equipment-operator training in Morrisburg, Ont.

The 10-week program began on Oct. 10 and is being administered by Kivalliq Partners in Development (KPID).

Chief-development officer Ron Dewar said KPID tried to have all seven Kivalliq hamlets represented in the program, but a number of applicants didn't have the Grade 10 requirement.

He said Grade 10 is required because the course includes two weeks of classroom training that includes math and geometry.

The program also requires a valid driver's license and a clean medical checkup.

"At least half the applications we received didn't have the Grade 10 requirement," said Dewar.

"If people want to work at the mine as something more than a cook's helper, they have to stay in school."

The heavy-equipment course has become popular during the past year.

Dewar said the Meadowbank project and word of mouth are behind the upswing in popularity.

"We had 17 from the Kivalliq take the course this past summer, and they came home and told people it's a wonderful program.

"So word is spreading at the same time Meadowbank is on the horizon.

"You put the two of them together and it becomes a big chance for a lot of people."

Cumberland Resources Ltd. supplied KPID with a breakdown of the jobs that will be available at Meadowbank and the types of equipment that will be used.

KPID is working with the Morrisburg facility to tailor its program to fit those needs.

Dewar said the region would quickly meet its limit of heavy-equipment operators if the mine wasn't in the picture.

He said KPID would not keep training people if there was nothing for them to do when they finish.

"In terms of finding employment during the next few years, I have my fingers crossed that mines will open, and not just Meadowbank.

"There are a number of other projects at various stages of development and, hopefully, some will pan out for us in the Kivalliq.

"My goal is jobs, jobs and more jobs."