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Sudbury innovation centre gets $1.3M for mine worker training programs

NORCAT will partner with mining companies on blended learning modules
NORCAT in Sudbury is known globally for its blended learning that includes virtual reality, simulation training, and in-class competency training. (File photo)

The NORCAT innovation centre in Sudbury has received $1.3 million in federal funding to develop and deploy blended training programs for mine workers in partnership with local mining companies.

NORCAT will develop training programs that combine online learning, virtual reality, equipment simulation training, and in-field competency training on mechanized bolters, jumbo drills, and load-haul-dump machines.

The centre will work on the project in concert with Vale, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations – Glencore, and Technica Mining over a 21-month period.

Workers will be trained over two-week periods, and up to 120 new and experienced workers are expected to benefit from the programming.

Funding for the initiative – which is being touted as the first of its kind globally – comes from the Future Skills Centre, which is funded by the federal government’s Future Skills Program.

"By working with our partners to develop, integrate, and deploy technology-enabled blended-learning programs, we are excited about the collective role we will all play to redefine the ‘new world of training’ to support the ‘new world of work’ in mining and other skilled labour industries across Canada," NORCAT’s CEO Don Duval said in a June 8 news release.

"We look forward to working with the Future Skills Centre and appreciate the support to engage, educate, and strengthen Canada’s future mining workforce by ensuring workers have the skills, competencies, and confidence to do their job both safely and productively."

NORCAT is known globally for its range of training programs that employ new technologies.

In March, the centre announced it was developing a training program for Vale workers on the operation and maintenance of mine equipment.

The centre additionally provides incubation space for emerging companies, and owns an underground mine used for training, and testing and prototyping new mining technology.