Transcontinental Media Grand Falls-Windsor —
Corona College is hosting a one-day seminar next month aimed at getting more women working in the mining industry.
Mining and mineral exploration companies in Newfoundland and Labrador have generated about 6,000 high-paying jobs.
“We are bringing in women’s organizations, government representatives, industry,” said Bernice Walker, president and CEO of Corona College.
“And what we want to do is to be able to identify how we can eliminate the barriers and challenges that women have and to assist them in terms of entering this sector.”
Walker said women are not always aware of the opportunities in the industry.
“With this type of seminar and to bring the key stakeholders together, it’s really an opportunity for us to be able to identify those challenges that’s preventing them from entering this sector.”
Walker said she believes the biggest challenge is making women aware of the fact they are accepted in the industry.
“The employers, the partners that we have, they are so supportive of hiring women,” she said.
“Without having industry on board, it would be futile to do this. We’re so fortunate. In our radius of where we sit in this college, we have three active mines.”
She said Teck, Rambler Metal and Mines and Beaver Brook have all hired graduates from Corona College’s mining program.
“And what we want to do is to be able to identify how we can eliminate the barriers and challenges that women have and to assist them in terms of entering this sector.” - Bernice Walker
The seminar is titled Empowering Women 2011.
“What we want to do is be able to give that kind of opportunity for our women here in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Walker said.
“A story that comes to my mind is one of our recruiters happened to be in Baie Verte at a grocery store. One of the women that we had trained, a graduate, came up to her with tears in her eyes and hugged her and said, ‘You changed my life.’ She was a single mom. She said, ‘Now I am able to go in and buy the things for my daughter without having to look at the price tag, wondering if I can afford it.’”
Guest speakers and panellists at the seminar include Senator Ethel Cochrane; Susan Sullivan, minister of industry, trade and rural development; MaryAnn Mihychuk, chairwoman of Women in Mining Canada; Melanie Sturk, director of attraction, retention and transition with the Mining Industry Human Resources Council; and Karen Walsh, executive director of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices.
The seminar is being held June 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m., at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor.