Students will have the chance to speak to 100 exhibitors from mining companies, mining supply and service businesses, as well as representatives of post-secondary institutions. Companies will also participate in a series of hour-long presentations to inform students and job seekers about career opportunities they can offer.
Potential workers need to understand that if they enter the mining industry, they’re not necessarily “going to be stuck underground in a dark hole,” said Mike Buckingham, executive director of Showpro, the Sudbury-based event management company behind the event.
Exhibitors are being encouraged to provide hands-on displays to get students excited about the wide array of career choices available in the mining industry.
“They (hands-on displays) are being provided so students have a chance to get involved. If I put a go-cart in front of you and told you it goes 40 miles an hour, you wouldn’t be that excited. It would be so much better if you got into it instead of me telling you what it does.”
Students need to find a career that excites them, said Buckingham.
“Usually what happens is, if the person really likes their job, you’re going to see it. They’re going to get excited. It creates a buzz,” he said.
“Maybe there’s someone who had no interest in getting into hydraulics, but he likes tinkering. All of a sudden he sees this big truck and the exhibitor gets him excited. It may just send that person in a different direction.”
Buckingham said Showpro decided to put on a mining career trade show because the minerals industry in Ontario is booming and there’s a shortage of skilled workers.
He’s put up posters in post-secondary institutions and advertised widely to attract students in skilled trades, geology and engineering programs, as well as those looking for a career change.
Because the general consensus is that high metal prices will continue for a few years, Buckingham said his company will likely make MineSET a yearly event.
“It’s funny, even when you’re down south, you hear about how well Sudbury is doing. I was in Vancouver and I even heard about Sudbury. It (the mining boom) is putting us on the map again, which is great.”
While many workers may be tempted to enter the mining industry because of the opportunity to earn high wages, that’s not really what employers want, he said. Mining companies, as well as the supply and service sector, need people who are passionate and highly skilled, Buckingham said.
“I was talking to my neighbour, who got hired on two months ago (with a local mining company). He’s a labourer. The lure for him was the nickel bonus,” he said.
“But the thing that stuck in my mind was that he said being a labourer is the same mindless job, day in and day out. Mining is going to be around. We all know that. We live in Sudbury. But you want to do a job that you’re going to enjoy.”