Canada’s Future Skills Centre is to invest C$1.3M in NORCAT, a leader in the development and provision of skilled labour training services for the global mining industry, to develop, test and deploy a series of technology-enabled blended learning programs that will transform how the Canadian mining industry trains and educates its workforce.

The 18-month project, led by NORCAT, involves a number of local partners in the Canadian mining industry including Vale Canada, Technica Mining, and Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, a Glencore Company.

With the investment from the Future Skills Centre, NORCAT is creating interactive and experiential technology-enabled training programs that are meaningful, scalable, and cost effective. The programs include a blended learning delivery model integrating eLearning, virtual reality, equipment simulation, and in-the-field competency validation on select pieces of mining equipment. Training on each piece of equipment will be approximately two weeks in length with a focus on operational safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre, said NORCAT’s unique, demand-driven, and blended training is a perfect example of the programs FSC is investing in that industries can find pathways to address chronic skills shortages and provide innovative and radical approaches to training, learning to build capacity and fill future skills gaps. "Integrating online learning, virtual reality, equipment simulation training, and in-the-field competency validation could transform how skilled labour industries like mining develop, engage, and deploy training and development programs to fill their skills gaps," said Barata.

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences Futures is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. It is a forward-thinking research centre focused on how to best prepare Canadians today for workforce opportunities of the future. The Centre will test innovative approaches to identify emerging in-demand skills and help Canadians develop the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.