Boart Longyear has found one solution
to finding qualified and experienced employees. At its eastern Canada
headquarters in Haileybury, a new drilling assistant training
facility has recently been established.
“There is a shortage of experienced
and qualified workers in the industry,” said Bill Krasnozon,
operations manager for Canada. “There are more drills available
than there are people to staff them so part of what I foresee is if
we get good, young people involved in the industry, they can make a
career out of it.”
Krasnozon should know. He started with
the company 34 years ago as a drill helper and moved through the
ranks to driller, foreman and supervisor to where he is today.
“It is a career and not something you
get into for three months and then leave the industry,” he said.
“We want to put investment in people not just as a drill helper,
but to see them advance to something more.”
The surface drilling training area is
located in the back of the company's yard where the classroom and
equipment are housed. In addition to a modern drill, a skidder and
bulldozer are on-site which students learn to operate. There is also
a pump house and a 1,400-foot water line for the drill.
Boart Longyear has operated an
underground diamond drill training facility in Levack for five years
where it obtains space from the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. (NORCAT).
“If we have to hire, we have to bring
them on mine property to physically train them to do the work and
that is hard to do,” he said. “When trucks and equipment are
operating, it can be a challenge.”
Gerry Oriet, training and development
manager for eastern Canada, said having its own training facility
allows the company to broaden the provincial minimum requirements.
“We have the ability to stop the
drill and explain the hazards of the job. We are ensuring everyone
knows what is being taught and they can ask questions right away.
There is also a limit of six per course, which is a better ratio for
hands-on training,” he said.
The surface course lasts two weeks and
students have a job with the company when they graduate.
“Anyone put through that course is in
our employment,” Krasnozon said. “We are paying them to take the
course and at the end, they will be taking a job anywhere in Canada.
Everybody hired for surface coring will come to Haileybury to train.”
When they leave the training site, the
new employees are still training since they join a driller and drill
helper team to hone their skills before becoming a helper.
Numerous resumes are received and after
reference checks are done, about 10 to 12 candidates are brought to
the Haileybury office. There, they sit in front of four or five
senior managers where they also learn how their career paths have
developed with the company.
“We want to make sure we have made
the right choice because it is an investment we are making,”
Krasnozon said. “There is a risk and by the time they do their
third-man training, we have reached the $14,000 to $15,000 level
invested on each person.”
Despite the two training facilities,
the company still can't fit the the need for all its hiring
requirements and it does undertake a variety of recruiting
“Our goal was to produce a better
hire who was more safety-conscientious and to give them a head start
before they hit the job and before they are inundated with a new
environment,” said Brian Maeck, environmental, health and safety
manager for eastern Canada. “The more knowledge they have before
going out in the field is better for everyone.”