$1 million awarded in Diversity & Inclusion Challenge Program
- EFN Staff | January 29, 2018
International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII), on behalf of its member companies and Innovation Saskatchewan, recently announced the winners under IMII’s first‐ever $1 million Diversity & Inclusion Challenge which focuses on increasing the number of women and Indigenous people in the mining sector’s workforce.
The recipients were: North Rim / RESPEC for Girls in the Classroom: Unearthing Career Opportunities in Mining; Women In Mining / Women in Nuclear‐SK: Mine Your Potential Mentorship Program; University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering: Indigenous Student Success Program; Saskatchewan Mining Association: Junior & Indigenous Youth First Responders Boot Camp; Saskatchewan Mining Association: Indigenization of Mineral Resource K‐12 Lesson Plans & Pilot Camps.
Building on commitments and leading practices of its mineral member companies, IMII launched its first ever Diversity & Inclusion Challenge program in May 2017. This $1 million open innovation challenge attracted 26 initial applications, nine of which were invited in June to submit formal proposals in the fall of 2017.
With the selection of these first five recipients, $683,948 will be awarded to support innovative pilot and demonstration projects with the aim to increase the number of women and Indigenous people in the mineral sector’s workforce. The project partners will contribute an additional $206,250 in other cash and in‐kind resources.
“The Diversity & Inclusion Challenge program has proven to be a successful model in working toward closing diversity and inclusion gaps for women and Indigenous peoples in our sector,” says Al Shpyth, IMII Executive Director. “Our members are making diversity and inclusion integral to their workplaces, and because we are not where we want to be as an industry yet, the Diversity & Inclusion Challenge is an outstanding example of how mining continues to step up as one of the province’s top employers.”
“Saskatchewan is blessed with a diverse economy and resources, but we never forget that our most valuable asset is our people,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Steven Bonk said. “Through the Diversity and Inclusion Challenge, we encourage the growth and participation of women and Indigenous people in the minerals sector, improving opportunities for everyone and ultimately growing the economy.”
IMII’s mineral member companies include BHP, Cameco, K+S Potash Canada, Nutrien Ltd. (formed out of the merger of Agrium Inc. and PotashCorp on January 2, 2018), and The Mosaic Company.
“As industry partners to the IMII, our interests lie in seeing greater access to opportunities for all people in Saskatchewan, and to ensure that women and indigenous peoples are better represented in the talent pipeline than we see today,” says Trevor Smith, Training Specialist, BHP. “The proposals that will receive funding represent innovative solutions to the issues we see in attracting, retaining, and supporting advancement for these underrepresented demographics in our industry. We already know that when we get inclusion right we perform better. By enhancing curricula, providing industry‐relevant skills, and delivering innovative supports for students and people already in industry, these initiatives will positively impact our mining workforce of the future and the prosperity of our province.”
It is the intent of IMII to share the results of the selected innovative projects with others sharing its members’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, so they may build on what is learned and further help address the minerals industry’s diversity and inclusion needs.