Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 30, 2012 - 6:15 am

Arviat produces new crop of diamond drillers

Ten finish demanding eight-week training program in Arviat

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Future diamond drillers learn how to handle drill rods during their eight-week training program. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HAMLET OF ARVIAT)
Future diamond drillers learn how to handle drill rods during their eight-week training program. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HAMLET OF ARVIAT)

The graduation of 10 more future diamond drillers gave people in Arviat a reason to celebrate on Oct. 26.

That’s the day which marked the end of the third Arviat diamond driller’s training course, which saw 10 of the 12 students completing the training program.

The program included both classroom and practical components on the Hamlet of Arviat’s diamond drilling rig.

“Arviat continues to work to ensure our community benefits as much as possible from the mining activity in the Kivalliq region and across Nunavut,” said Arviat mayor Bob Leonard in an Oct. 29 news release. “Without proper training and a focus on education, it’s not possible to take advantage of all the opportunities that mining is bringing to the territory and our community.”

Leonard said training programs like the diamond drilling program are “an important part of our economic development strategy, and crucial to helping ensure a prosperous future for the community of Arviat,” which has a population of about 2,300.

Nine of the graduates were from Arviat, two from Rankin Inlet, and one from Coral Harbour, with Clarissa Ussak of Rankin Inlet becoming the second woman to graduate from the program.

The most recent diamond drillers course had received 75 applications from interested candidates from around the Kivalliq — up from 30 to 35 applications for previous courses.

“So it’s obvious that word is getting around and that demand is high for this course,” said Keith Collier, Arviat’s economic development officer for Arviat.

However, despite it’s popularity, the training in diamond drilling won’t be offered again over the winter.

“We ran into some problems last year trying to run the program in the winter months, mainly blizzards and travel delays, so the instructors from Northern College, our training partner, recommended we avoid training in the coldest months,” Collier said.

And there were some scheduling conflicts with Northern College’s drill training program at Kirkland Lake this year.

As well, with the Kivalliq Mine Training Society, which ran out of money last April, “essentially defunct for this year,” Collier said it was a challenge finding the money to offer even one training course.

Due to continued level of demand and industry support, there are plans to offer this diamond drilling course again in 2013-2014, he said.

Partners for the program include the Hamlet of Arviat, Northern College of Ontario, Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., Orbit-Garant Drilling, Boart-Longyear Drilling, the Department of Economic Development and Transportation, Nunavut Arctic College, Kivalliq Partners in Development and the Northern College of Applied Arts Haileybury School of Mines.

“We are always amazed to see the transformation of our students involved in skill programs. They become aware of the capacity of creating a career for themselves through their training delivered by industry experts and the end results are not only a job but an increase in their self-confidence and hope for the future. ” said Rose-Lyne D’Aoust-Messier, Training Consultant from Northern College.

The graduation ceremony, held at Mark Kalluak community hall, included a traditional performance by Arviat Qiggiqtiit, thanks and congratulations from Leonard, and messages of support and congratulations from Arviat MLA Dan Shewchuk, Agnico-Eagle and Northern College.

“We’ve had good results in terms of jobs with our previous graduates. A great example is Hunter Tattuinee from Arviat, who graduated from the course in April 2012, and so impressed his superiors on the job over the summer that the instructors requested him as their assistant instructor. We expect that our current graduates will continue to find employment, and enjoy long, rewarding careers in the mining industry,” Collier said.

Several graduates of the recent course have already been offered job interviews.

“Out of the 21 graduates out of the previous two courses, 18 found at least part-time or temporary employment in the mining industry,” MLA Shewchuk stated Oct. 26 in the Nunavut legislature.

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