It doesn t wobble a bit!

Cambrian Staffing Solutions

The demand for skilled personnel in the booming mining industry is surpassing the supply of qualified, available workers.

Dick Destefano, executive director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA), reports that the mining industry in Northern Ontario is expected to create 70, 000 jobs over the next decade and there are not enough qualified workers.

“Students need to understand that mining is no longer about jackhammers and dark holes. Today, it is about technology, instrumentation and data gathering, sensors and all the IT communication required to make a new future mine work, ” said DeStefano.

“This shortage is not going away. In fact, if anything it is going to get worse, ” predicts Leclair, president of Cambrian Staffing. There is a significant gap between the time workers retire and the time when the new generation of qualified workers can replace them, he said.

“There is a demand for welders, mechanics, engineers, instrumentation technicians and pipefitters. Everyone is scrambling.”

The problem was caused by the low number of young people entering the trades, but today there is more effort to inform high school students about career options and apprenticeship programs in the mining industry.

Leclair’s company also recruits for health care and government. The company has a staff of 10 and serves customers in North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto.

Leclair and his recruiters use a variety of means for finding suitable workers from across Canada.

“We post all across Canada, ” said Leclair. “If candidates are not close by to meet in person, we will start with a phone interview. For those at a distance, we use Skype to determine if clients should move to the next stage.”

Candidates are found through advertising and networking. Once they are identified, Cambrian Staffing follows up by screening, testing and interviewing them. Security clearances are obtained if necessary and certifications are confirmed. The company can also provide personality profiles and reference checks.

If they have a suitable candidate at a distance, they may bring them to Northern Ontario to meet with their prospective employer and learn about the attributes of living in the area.

In addition to recruiting experienced workers, Leclair is involved in encouraging high school and college graduates to pursue skilled trades.

“It is about proper access points from education to jobs, ” said Leclair. “We make presentations in schools and colleges, making sure they know how to write a resumé and plug into the jobs.”

Using professional recruiters relieves employers of the burden of investigating a candidate’s qualifications, ensuring that safety courses and certificates are in place and that references are checked.

Cambrian Staffing Solutions also arranges for health and safety training and certifications for fall protection, flagging, forklift, operation overhead crane work and welding.

Leclair points out to clients that the company can spend upwards of $10, 000 to hire someone. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the average cost-per-hire for an executive position is $44, 000. The cost-per-hire for management/professional positions is $17, 400, and the average cost to hire people for technical positions is $13, 600. Included are search time, advertising, interviewing, screening, training and orientation. The cost of hiring the wrong person could be even higher.

“We have a 97 per cent retention rate and our reputation is excellent, ” said Leclair. “That is because it’s not about pushing resumés, but working at building a company’s human capital.”

For some companies that may only require a worker for a short-term contract, Cambrian Staffing Solutions also has a pool of qualified temporary workers who can be placed immediately. Such placements are ideal to fill a temporary void in the workforce and do not require the company to make a commitment to hire.

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