An Introduction to Mining course, developed by the Sudbury-area Rainbow District School Board, will provide students with an introduction to mineral exploration, mining methods, mineral processing, environmental remediation, new technologies and health and safety. Students opting for the program will also be exposed to mining themes in English, Math and Science courses.
Grade 12 Math, for example, will highlight surveying techniques. As part of the Chemistry curriculum, students will learn about metallurgical processes.
The High Skills Mining Major will require students to qualify for five compulsory certifications, including WHIMIS, Standard First Aid and Underground Service Common Core.
Credits will also be awarded for experiential learning through job shadowing, work experience and co-op placements.
The Ontario government launched the Specialist High Skills Program in an “attempt to address the high drop-out rate in the province and make learning more authentic,” said project leader Sofia Gallagher.
Other school boards across the province are rolling out similar academic programs focusing on manufacturing, construction, arts and culture and hospitality and tourism.
The pilot began in September 2006 with Grade 9 and 10 students in the
two schools exposed to mining related learning modules through existing curriculum. Cre-dits toward the High Skills Major designation will be earned during the so-called “spe-cialization” phase of the program, offered in Grades 11 and 12, beginning in September 2007.
“The Specialist High Skills Mining Major will enable students to customize their secondary school experience to suit their interests and talents and prepare for a successful transition to apprenticeship training, college, university or employment while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and the needs of the local mining industry,” said Gallagher.
“Students participating in the program will gain the sector-identified preparatory credits, skills and knowledge to give them a head start in pursuing career goals in an industry that offers a wide variety of challenging and exciting opportunities,” she added.
The steering committee providing advice to the school board included representatives from Cambrian College, Laurentian University, College Boréal, Xstrata Nickel, CVRD- Inco and local mining supply and service companies.