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Commentary

Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines sparkles

November 6, 2017
by Dick DeStefano
In: Commentary, Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano, Executive Director, SAMSSA.

Having an employee, CEO or exploration specialist who has the knowledge and expertise to move through the entirety of the mining cycle is an attractive prospect. Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines (GSM) has plans to make the grooming of such individuals a reality.

Dr. Bruce Jago, founding executive director of the school, describes GSM as an administrative unit at Laurentian: “We operate in parallel and in collaboration with the six disciplines that comprise the mining cycle,” he said. These six disciplines: Earth Sciences, Engineering, Indigenous Relations and Studies, Occupational Health and Safety, Environment and Ecology, and Management, make up the key facets of the industry, and in essence, “they’ll get you from one end of the mining cycle – which is discovery – all the way through to closure.”

GSM’s support of these disciplines includes funding the purchase of new computers and design software for Engineering and access to a new mining equipment simulator at NORCAT for researchers at the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH). For Earth Sciences, GSM bought a number of new microscopes for their microscopy lab. These can be used not only for teaching, but also for research purposes. Earth Sciences and Engineering also received funding to help with the cost of field trips, field schools and competitions.

One of these competitions with the early signs of an industry following is the Goodman Gold Challenge. Now attracting teams from Toronto, Montreal – even Kentucky – the competition gives students a chance to meet with industry leaders, interview CEOs, and potentially head home with a cash prize and a quarter ounce gold coin.

Additionally, GSM has hosted 18 lectures over the last four years, drawing approximately 1,800 students and community members. “The last lecture featured two women from the mining industry who have done incredibly well,” said Jago. “We had a fireside chat format for that lecture. The event was moderated by Jonathan Goodman of the Goodman family. He’s also the executive-in-residence in our Faculty of Management.”

In an industry such as mining, each person is required to be a lifelong learner and develop the necessary skills to move to a position that suits them and their potential. But how to secure those skills can be more difficult as one climbs the ladder, and in some situations, the continuing education pursued is not one that ends up helping.

Through consultations with experienced professionals, mining and HR companies, as well as other experts, GSM is in the early stages of developing a Career Path Mapping Program. Starting with four career path maps, and based on current program offerings at Laurentian, GSM will eventually offer training to help mining companies meet their needs for highly qualified personnel and support for professionals in having the right skills, competencies and behaviours necessary to excel throughout their career, making the best decisions for their career, whether they are at the entry level hoping to secure a position, or at mid-level hoping to move higher. There will be a focus on various types of skills, from commercial and technical to social.

In the educational crown that is Laurentian University, there are many jewels. The Goodman School of Mines is one of them, but it has a shine that will only grow with time.

The preceding is the first of a Special Legacy Series written for SAMSSA by freelance writer Jenny Lamothe.

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About Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano is Executive Director of SAMSSA [email protected]

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