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YMP aims to bridge the mining talent gap with 45 scholarships

When Stephen Stewart first joined the mining world in the early 2000s, he stepped into an industry facing a yawning generational talent gap.

Hoping to meet similar-aged peers, Stewart, who’s now chairman of Canadian exploration and development company the Ore Group, realized he might need to start his own organization. His lightbulb moment led him to get involved with the Young Mining Professionals networking group. Originating out of Vancouver, Stewart helped establish it in Toronto in 2015.

“Back in the day, I looked around and realized everyone was either heading to retirement or had stories older than my entire career!” he said in an interview. “So, starting YMP was partly about self-preservation.”

In 2017, Stewart and Anthony Moreau, CEO of American Eagle Gold (TSX: AE; US-OTC: AMEGF) co-founded the Young Mining Professionals (YMP) Scholarship Fund. Now in its sixth year, the scholarship attracts 23 sponsors offering 45 scholarships ranging between C$1,000 and C$10,000, including a C$5,000 award by The Northern Miner to an exceptional mining student. Other top-tier opportunities with major miners are available such as a C$10,000 award by Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM), C$10,000 by Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX), and several $5,000 awards each by Equinox Gold (TSX: EQX), O3 Mining (TSXV: OIII; US-OTC: OIIIF), Alamos Gold (TSX: AGI; NYSE: AGI), B2Gold (TSX: BTO, NYSE-A: BTG) and Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC), among others.

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) has been the fund’s staunchest supporter since its inception, Stewart noted. Driven by a ‘by the industry for the industry’ mindset, the broad industry backing amplifies the fund’s financial capacity and enhances its ability to connect students with real-world mining opportunities, Stewart noted.

The YMP Scholarship Fund has grown to nearly C$250,000 this year from just C$12,000 in its first year, and up from C$200,000 last year. At the beginning, it was supported by a few companies and personal contributions from industry leaders.

At the beginning, it was supported by a few companies and personal contributions from industry leaders.

This year’s YMP Scholarship application process is already open, with a closing date set for Aug. 31. Following the deadline, applications will be reviewed by volunteers who ensure the scholarships are awarded to the most deserving candidates.

About 3,000 students applied for the 45 scholarships offered last year.

Competing for talent

The talent gap is the mining industry’s “number one concern,” Stewart says, pointing out that addressing this issue is critical for the aging industry’s future. Mining faces competition for talent from other sectors like technology that are often more appealing to youth. Initiatives like the YMP Scholarship Fund help connect young people with an industry that badly needs them, he said, offering not just financial support, but learning and mentorship opportunities with companies.

Many of the scholarships target students in mining programs, while others are available specifically to women, Indigenous students, new Canadians or residents of a region or province. Applicants are selected based on a combination of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and submissions such as essays demonstrating innovative ideas and a commitment to the mining industry.

Applicants who are not successful scholarship recipients are automatically enrolled in a Mining Lottery sponsored by YMP Toronto, Sprott and Resource Talks, who will award six C$500 prizes to students.

The YMP Scholarship Fund, a registered Canadian charity offering tax receipts to donors, is always open to new sponsors both for this year’s program and future years. Companies and individuals interested in sponsoring a scholarship are encouraged to email

Source: MINING.COM – Read More