Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Mentor Program
The PDAC Mentor Program is set to launch full force in the summer of 2017. Applications remain open.
The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) recently announced its mentorship program, which was built with student success and industry cohesion in mind. Bob Schafer, PDAC president, discusses the details and benefits of this program.
“The program was designed for a variety of reasons that will benefit the geoscience community as a whole,” said Schafer. “Our student members will be fortunate enough to gain access to mentors who have experienced the challenges and rewards of a career in the mining and exploration industry.”
Student mentees will gain invaluable on-the-job knowledge from their experienced mentors—knowledge that will positively contribute to an easy transition from school into the workforce when it is time for these students to graduate.
Relationships in the geoscience industry are important to the success of students as they move into the workforce of the previous generation. “Facilitating these relationships helps build cohesion and keeps knowledge between all generations of the industry, from one end of a career to the other,” Schafer said. Mentors and mentees in the PDAC program will learn from each other and work together to build a workforce with a strong and coherent skill set to overcome challenges as they appear in mining and exploration. Further, the network of colleagues that the Mentor Program will catalyze will continue to help those involved reach their goals within the industry for years to come.
Some may wonder why extreme cohesion is important. The fast-paced, unpredictable nature of mining and exploration lies at the root of the PDAC Mentor Program’s inspiration. ”As our industry is prone to cycles of boom and bust, we run the risk of encountering skills gaps as a result of the loss of knowledge between junior and senior employees,” said Schafer. “We felt that a mentoring program would be a unique opportunity to tackle this emerging problem.”
However, mentoring is not a novel idea in the mining and exploration industries. “There is also a consensus across industry and academia that mentoring is a key aspect of a flourishing career in geoscience,” said Schafer. Plenty of similar programs played key roles in guiding the industry’s highest achievers to success. “Many of our experienced members have benefited from mentors during their career and are looking to give back in a way that is meaningful,” he said. The PDAC Mentor Program will give mentors an organized channel to share their knowledge in a meaningful way.
PDAC will help their members guide the younger generation as they complete school and transition into the workforce: “We determined that PDAC could play a role in connecting members and facilitating their desire to help,” Schafer said. The personal connection many of the PDAC mentor members feel sets the stage for a successful first season of the PDAC Mentor Program and has been greeted with only praise among PDAC members. Schafer described the reaction as “overwhelmingly positive” and stated that “the members are enthusiastic about the program and are excited to participate in its success.”
While the current mentee focus is on senior geoscience students within Canadian universities, Schafer and PDAC plan to expand the program in the future. “As the program grows, we would like to expand the focus to recent graduates and junior geoscientists,” Schafer said.
PDAC is currently searching for mentors in all areas of geoscience of varying levels of expertise. Students are invited to reach out with an application form. The PDAC Mentor Program will begin in full force this upcoming summer 2017, although a soft launch is already underway.