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A class move

A partnership to deliver an annual Class Driver training program continues to roll along in Rankin Inlet.

Program partners and class graduates of the annual college driver instruction program are, from left, Sean Sykes, Raymond Boisterous, Normand Gordon (Class I Driver graduate), Denise Ford (Class II graduate), Bernard Tulip Jr. (Class I graduate), Albert Tenser and Stephanie Lachance recently in Rankin Inlet. Missing from photo are Class 1 graduates William Innukshuk and Jordan Pudnak. photo courtesy of Stephanie Lachance

The program is a partnership between Nunavut Arctic College (NAC), M&T and Kivalliq Partners in Development.

M&T general manager Glen Brooks said NAC puts the training course on every year, and it was always looking for trucking and trailers to be able to support the program.

He said that's when M&T decided to get involved this past year; donating a truck and a trailer to the program, and having the insurance taken care of, as well.

“When you look at the results of the program, from a business point of view, obviously, M&T has more Class 1 drivers available,” said Brooks.

“But, from a community perspective, it shows local businesses are supporting the college with its drive, and what it's trying to do with its programs in the North.

“We're very proud to be a part of that process.”

Brooks said there's still a definite need for Class 1 drivers right now.

He said the Miliadine Gold Project is growing now, and growth of the community is going to happen, as well.

“The fact that Agnico Eagle is putting the effort into the sea barge, as well as what we're taking off the beach and delivering-out in a seven-month project, shows the growth.

“There's probably going to be around nine-or-ten-months worth of trucking next year – and everything gets trucked out on semitrailers – so there's a huge need for this program.

“It's going to keep evolving because you don't have a road connecting Rankin Inlet to anyone, so, with everything that's within here, you only have a certain population of people that they can call on and use, so that's why there's definitely a need here.”

Brooks said having drivers trained locally, instead of having to go away for it, is the right way to go.

He said Rankin's going to become the new Yellowknife or Fort McMurray.

“Let's not kid ourselves. Rankin Inlet is going to boom. And with that boom will come opportunity to those who have taken training, so Arctic college putting these courses on gives local community beneficiaries the best chance at getting a good, long-sustaining job with good pay.

“You have 20 years in the life cycle of this mine, but, in 20 years, a father driving truck and earning good money can educate his kids, and can even put them through university.

“So, in 20 years time, you've got an educated, or trades-qualified or mechanics-qualified group up there who have got a skill set.

“That's a good thing that can drive the economy. Education is power. M&T is always interested in what it can do to support local beneficiaries to have a role to play in the future of Rankin Inlet, because they're going to be the ones shaping Rankin Inlet.”