Students interested in mining technologies training that don’t want to move to Surrey will soon have the option of starting that training here at TRU.
A BCIT diploma in Mineral Exploration and Mining Technologies has until now only been offered to registered BCIT students and offered only on BCIT campuses.
The pilot project is meant to make the diploma more accessible for students across B.C. interested in becoming professionals in the mining industry.
Students will be able to complete the first year of the diploma here at TRU before having to relocate to a BCIT campus for the remaining two years of the diploma.
Dean of science Tom Dickinson recently signed a memorandum of understanding initiating phase one of the pilot project, which aims to align BCIT curriculum with the other post-secondary institutions involved.
The implementation of the program could be a reality as soon as September 2016, according to Jill Tsolinas, Executive Director at BC Centre of Training Excellence in Mining (CTEM).
Because of the courses already offered by the university and the Open Learning Centre, “TRU is very well-aligned” for a project like this one, Tsolinas said.
Eight of the 17 courses needed to complete the first year are a mixture of science and communications courses already offered at TRU. The remaining courses will be offered by TRU Open Learning, according to Bryan Daly, Academic Director of Science and Technology at TRU.
Although there is potential for TRU to implement a similar diploma in the future, they have not seen any high demand for it, Daly said. A joint project like this offers students something that would otherwise not exist.
TRU is one of four post-secondary institutions involved in the pilot project; The College of New Caledonia, Northwest Community College and Okanagan College are also a part of the agreement, according to Tsolinas.
The collaboration between institutions present in the agreement with BCIT is a trend that may become a more common practice in B.C., explained Tsolinas. There is a growing realization by the industry partners and training institutions that greater access to training is more beneficial overall, especially for an industry that predicts a massive demand for a workforce in the next decade.
Increased access to training in mining may also draw the attention of individuals reeling from the recent hardships suffered by the oil industry.
Research has shown that almost 50 per cent of the mining industry’s workforce will be at retirement age by 2022, Tsolinas said, making the need for trained professionals even greater.