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Innovative Education Program for Mining and First Nations Launches

January 10th, 2022 officially marks the launch of the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining: Cowessess Edition training program, delivered on Cowessess First Nation. Twelve students - 4 female and 8 male - will embark on their new journey towards building a career in potash mining, utilizing this course as a springboard. The first 8-week classroom portion of the course will include interview skill building, automation skills training utilizing high-end gaming computers, mine-ready resume building, cultural teachings delivered by Nation’s Knowledge Keepers and Elders, and much more. The course will complete with a 2-week on-site work placement that Mosaic will be hosting at their K3 mine site near Esterhazy. The students will be welcomed to the classroom each morning with a breakfast, followed by a hot meal at lunch to keep them fed as they focus on learning. As safety is priority 1 in mining, Mosaic has offered the students housing for the 2-week practicum to reduce the distance students will have to travel each morning.

The innovative nature of this course does not only lie within the customized, culturally relevant content, it stems from the collaborative alliance built within the project team. The genuine partnership, built on trust and mutual goals between Cowessess First Nation, the surrounding Nations - Zagmie Anishinabek First Nation; Ochapowace Nation – Mosaic, and Morris Interactive, has been nothing short of true teamwork. The team that united together through the initial bi-weekly meetings at Cowessess First Nation, has quickly turned into a group of friends that genuinely appreciate one another’s different perspectives and skill sets.

Sixty candidates applied from across the prairies, from three treaty territories (4, 5, and 6), and twelve students were carefully selected based on their application and subsequent interviews. The interview committee consisted of a collaborative team that included First Nation community representation from Barry Sparvier of Cowessess First Nation and Frieda Sparvier of Ochapowace Nation, Potash Industry representation through Mosaic’s Earl Greyeyes, and training provider representation from Morris Interactive’s Benjamin Williamson. This impressive showcase of interest from the 60 applicants would not be possible without the expertise of Annette Ermine, Communications specialist for Cowessess First Nation.

“IMII is pleased to support this first edition of the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining training program and very pleased that it is taking place on, and with strong contributions from, Cowessess First Nation,” says Al Shpyth, IMII Executive Director. “The collaboration and respectful partnership between Cowessess First Nation, Zagmie Anishinabek First Nation, Ochapowace Nation, Mosaic and Morris Interactive is to be celebrated, as are the twelve students embarking on their journey towards building a career in Saskatchewan’s world leading potash industry.”

This program does not end at the completion of the ten-week program. The goal is to create long-term, treaty-based partnerships, with shared mutual economic benefit that will continue for years to come. The course aligns with Chief Delorme’s vision for economic reconciliation that includes education and training on, and in consultation with First Nations. We wish all twelve students success in the course and in their careers following!

Download the official release here​​​​​​​.