Melinda, the welder, puts money aside for her son`s education: “I told him, number one is to take a trade and after that do whatever interests you. If you have a trade you will always be able to put food on the table. I´ve never really been without a job. If you want a job, there is one out there.” In the Yukon, just like in other places with a strong mining industry, there are colleges and training institutions for jobs in this sector. Moreover, most of the trades can be applied to other industries as well.
A mix of trades, training and ongoing education is key to a long-term, successful career.
As Jason, who is currently a millwright, puts it: “If you only know one thing or if you are only at an entry level or in a ‘shovel job’ you are not in a good position. Especially if a mine operation closes down, it is harder to find something new. I've done lots of things in my life and it helps to develop your personality too – you know who you are. It makes you proud if you've got lots of different skills. That way you've got lots of different things to offer.”
Henry, who is working as a technician in a mill, dropped out of school in the village he is from. When he got older, he went back to complete his degree and started taking mine training courses.
Henry said, “When you’re young you sometimes don’t think ahead. I really recommend for people to stay in school. Otherwise, later on you must get used to learning again. When I was older I started to like learning and got a variety of tickets and certificates.”
One feature of the mining industry is that people have the opportunity to complete on-the-job training and gain experience directly at the mine site.
In the mining industry, one can work up the career ladder: from a basic job to becoming a foreman or being in the management. Therefore, you learn a lot of different skills, which are also applicable to other sectors.
Miranda, who is currently working as a First Aid responder, has experience cooking for large workforces and has received training as a safety manager. She can jump from one job to the next, according to the needs of the small mining company she is currently working for.
In the mining sector, there is little job security due to changing market conditions and unpredictable commodity prices.
Being flexible in your profession and pursuing educational training can help ensure a long-term career in the dynamic mining sector.
I think about going back to school for a trade or something, yeah. Just to have something, because I'm thirty now, I'm thinking to myself I´m good in mathematics. So I am sure I can succeed when I get back to school. Jessica
When you are off work in mining try to get another trade to support yourself. Take equipment operating courses, machinery, welding, electrician, carpenter courses, stuff like that. Ken
My mom was really big on schooling and she always said to me you may get married but you should be able to look after yourself, you know. So you should have a proper education being able to support yourself. That way, if you ever get in a bad situation or say your husband gets hurt, you can become the breadwinner. Jaqueline
I’ve worked in three different industries at least. I’ve been through the logging industry, the oil sands industry and now I am in the mining industry and they all have their ups and downs. Try to find a job that you can do throughout each industry. So I went into water and wastewater and now I can switch between companies a lot easier and I can work in town too. Brad
It gives you so much strength to learn new skills. I was so proud of myself holding the certificate in my hand. Henry