New mining training centre officially announced for CCNB Bathurst

CCNB Bathurst is getting $1.5 million from the provincial and federal government to set up a specialized training centre for the mining and drilling sectors.

About $185,000 comes from ACOA's Innovative Communities Fund, while the province of New Brunswick is kicking in $1.3 million through the Regional Development Corporation and the Department of Post Secondary Education, Training, and Labour.

CCNB is investing $265,000 in the project.

The money will be used to hire a manager and experts to develop curriculum, as well as purchase heavy equipment simulators.

The training centre will focus on a 14 to 20 week mining program, a four to six week equipment operator program, as well as workplace health & safety and environmental safety.

The move comes following recommendations by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council that highlight the need for succession planning in the industry in order to meet the current and future needs for skilled workers in the field.

It's expected that between 84,000 and 126,000 new hires will be needed to fill positions across the country left vacant as a result of retirements.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says the high-value mining industry offers high wage jobs and contribute to the provincial economy, which helps to fund education, health care, and other provincially funded programs.

CCNB President and CEO Liane Roy says the industry's workforce is getting older and that preparations need to be made for a new generation of workers.

She says modern simulators will help the college respond to industry demand by providing skilled workers and that CCNB aims to be a leader in mining education;  not only in New Brunswick but across Eastern Canada.

Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier says there are many qualified individuals in the Chaleur region to pass along their knowledge to the next generation, while the program itself will contribute to the mining industry's succession planning efforts and help diversify the region's local economy.