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Wahgoshig common core program gets operational funds

The program, delivered by Northern College in partnership with Primero Mining Corp., trains community members for work in the mining industry.
Attending the 2015 launch of the program were (from left) Wahgoshig Chief Dave Babin; Dan Gagnon, general manager at Primero Black Fox Complex; Fred Gibbons, president at Northern College; Graham Reid, manager of health, safety and environment, and security manager at Primero Mining Corp.

The basic underground hard rock miner common core program, currently being delivered to Wahgoshig First Nation through Northern College, received a $248,403 boost from the provincial government.

The province announced the funding was being provided through the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund (AEDF). This is the fourth intake of the program, which was launched in 2015 and is delivered in collaboration with Primero Mining Corp.

Through the program, students receive 14 weeks of training at Primero’s Black Fox Complex, located just outside of Matheson.

“At Northern College, we are driven by our commitment to increasing access to educational opportunities for members of Indigenous communities. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with Wahgoshig First Nation and Primero Mining Corp to offer increased access to our Underground Hard Rock Miner Common Core program to local Indigenous learners,” said Christine Heavens, executive director of community, business development and employment services at Northern College, in a release.

“This modular training program provides students with the specific skills and hands-on training required to work effectively and safely in the mining industry.”

Ontario announced the $25-million AEDF in 2014 to fund business, employment and training opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit businesses, communities and organizations.

Eligible projects should:

  • diversify Indigenous economies;
  • increase access to employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people;
  • provide start-up and expansion financing for small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses;
  • and support collaboration between Indigenous communities and the private sector on regional and province-wide economic development initiatives, particularly financing and skills training projects.

The province plans to invest $70 million over the next seven years to extend the fund, for a combination of $95 million over 10 years.