Although mining is a new industry for Co. Tyrone, mines can be found throughout Europe – including close to home in both Ireland and Britain.
Tara Mines on the edge of Navan in Co. Meath, for instance, is Europe’s largest zinc and lead mine, and has been operating successfully for 40 years. The mine employs c.1,000 people and is a major driver of the local economy. In addition to supporting local shops, restaurants and hotels the mine is also an integral part of the local community. It has a positive influence on many aspects of life including educational opportunities available to the area’s students.
Science, Technology, English and Math (STEM)
The value of STEM subjects in preparing students for the world of work is well recognised and Tara Mines, which is a sophisticated engineering operation, has had a dramatic impact. Talking about the issue one local careers guidance coach said: “In one school, 18 years ago, only three to four students were considering or entering STEM as a career pathway. Now upwards of 40 students per year plan to follow these disciplines through college or university It’s a seismic change and the fact that Tara Mines is on our doorstep is a significant factor in this change of mind-set.”
Vocational education in the area has also benefited significantly from the presence of Tara Mines. Given that the industry has a strong preference to recruit employees locally, students in Navan and the wider Meath area have the opportunity to get an early ‘hands-on’ feel for the work environment.
According to one local teacher:
“Those students who would have been more creative and skilled with their hands found an outlet that allowed them to use these skills to the same advantage as those who followed a more academic route.”
Echoing this, a former vocational college student stressed how Tara Mines had opened up career and work-life balance opportunities which otherwise wouldn’t have been available:
“For guys like me who were more skilled in mechanics or joinery, it meant I didn’t have to think about getting into a van at the crack of dawn every morning and travelling the country for work. Now I can afford to buy my own car and go to a well-paid job virtually on my own doorstep in the town, and that also means getting paid in full and on time by a reliable employer. It’s made all the difference to time spent with my family as well.”
At Dalradian we’re passionate that our project will have a similarly positive impact on west Tyrone. We’ve been making presentations in local schools about the range of careers in mining and started developing new training courses for mining with South West College, but that’s just the beginning. By creating 1,000 new direct and indirect jobs Dalradian will have a trans formative economic impact on the area. Supporting local schools and colleges is integral to our plans to ensure that local people have the skills to take advantage of those opportunities.
SPONSORED CONTENT BY DALRADIAN