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NU students work with international mining corporation

Nipissing School of Business students are working with international mining corporation, Cementation Canada Inc., on a real-life case study that helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice and between university and the workplace.

The “live” case study Cementation Canada Inc. presented to the fourth year Nipissing students involved the development of strategic plans to overcome unexpected vacancies in key departments, such as Occupational Health and Safety, while also dealing with the cyclical nature of the mining industry. In providing suggestions on how to overcome these identified challenges, students are working with the organization to meet its goal of ongoing quality assurance.

Cementation provided key members of their administrative team to work with Dr. Leslie Wardley’s upper year Business class to discuss challenges with the development of a safety culture within the mining industry and their organization.

In the first part of this course, students conducted a needs analysis based on research and interviews with senior administrators to identify how changes expected within the organization’s hierarchy could influence the current Health and Safety orientation/training program.

Students then identified potential problem areas such as: difficulties in the transfer of information that could arise with the anticipated retirement of key stakeholder; the need to effectively manage stakeholders’ priorities during recruitment and selection processes; and ensuring a corporate culture that promotes and establishes policies that works towards safety goals during this change process. The final part to the case study required students to identify and explain the ways their suggested solutions and implementation processes could help to overcome the issues identified.

In support of this project, Roy Slack, president and director of Cementation Canada Inc., came to campus to discuss the case study, answer students’ questions and share his perspective on developing and maintaining a safety culture. Slack is on the Ontario Prevention Council as an employer representative reporting to the Chief Prevention Officer and the Minister of Labour. He established Cementation Canada Inc., in 2002.

“This collaboration with Cementation Canada Inc. is truly significant for students. This company has gone above and beyond to interact with our students and work with them on projects relating to employee succession plans and the promotion of a safety culture, “says Dr. Leslie Wardley, Assistant Professor in the School of Business.

“They provided representatives - like Roy Slack, President; Steve Wrixon, Superintendent of Safety and Training; Ray Fortin, Manager of Safety and Penny English, Human Resources Manage – for many of my classes this term. For many students, this type of ongoing interaction with working professionals from an international company moves beyond anything they had hoped to experience during their university studies.”

Cementation Canada Inc. is an international underground mine contracting and engineering company that has influenced the mechanization of mineshaft sinking, including the use of independent work platforms to enable concurrent installation of shaft furnishings. This company has earned awards such as: Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2007 and in 2008; North Bay Business of the Year; and Northern Ontario Business of the Year. Evident from Cementation’s organizational culture, the safety of their people and the job sites are high priorities. However, in any innovative industry, there are always ways to improve accident or lost time injury rates. Cementation Canada Inc. has embraced this viewpoint by being proactive about how it manages its people and its process so potential risks are reduced.​

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