Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Cameco Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2016):
- Cameco strongly encourages ongoing employee education and development through an impressive variety of in-house and online training programs along with apprenticeship opportunities, subsidies for tuition and professional education and paid educational leaves of absence
- Cameco launched the exceptionally unique "Touchdown for Dreams" project in partnership with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and the Saskatchewan Roughriders -- the program was recently expanded and seeks to fulfill the wishes of up to ten women living with cancer each year, from cruise ship vacations to home renovations to the leasing of a Mustang convertible
Finding and nurturing local talent at Cameco
As an aspiring engineer who grew up in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Ronge, Daley McIntyre didn't have to look far to identify her employer-of-choice. Saskatoon-based Cameco, one of the world's largest uranium producers, runs three mines and two mills in northern Saskatchewan and places a strong emphasis on recruiting and retaining local talent.
After working for Cameco all four summers while attaining her engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan, McIntyre took a job in 2002 with the company's environmental protection department at Key Lake, the single largest uranium milling facility in the world. She has remained at Key Lake ever since, steadily rising through the ranks to her current position as Superintendent of the Safety, Health, Environment and Quality department.
"Working here keeps me in touch with northern Saskatchewan," says McIntyre. "People here are very friendly and they love to laugh. Even more importantly, I get to be involved in understanding and protecting the northern environment. This company feels like family and this place feels like home."
Cameco, which also operates in Ontario, the U.S., Australia and Kazakhstan, is widely recognized for its diverse workforce. The company seeks out top-quality recruits from four key employment equity groups - Aboriginal Peoples, members of visible minorities, people with disabilities and women in under-represented roles.
Today, Cameco is Canada's number one industrial employer of Aboriginal Peoples. As well, almost half of Cameco's employees in northern Saskatchewan are from the region.
"Our mines and mills operate on a seven-day in and out rotation," says Lynn McNally-Power, Cameco's Vice President of Human Resources. "This allows a large portion of our northern workforce to live in their home communities and fly to and from work."
Cameco works hard to understand the local labour market, wherever it operates. Potential recruits are closely tracked at the community, secondary school and postsecondary level and through outreach programs and career fairs.
While these are challenging times for many commodity-based businesses, Cameco is committed to keeping its workforce stable and its recruitment efforts robust. In 2014, the company welcomed 41 summer students, 15 co-op students and 24 new graduates to its Canadian operations.
"As a number of our employees approach retirement age, we need a pipeline of fresh talent," says McNally-Power. "And we are very mindful that, even as the industry faces challenges, top talent is always in demand and always has choices."
Once part of the Cameco family, employees have access to a wide range of career and leadership development opportunities. One program, Leadership Essentials, brings high-performing employees into regular contact with leaders across the company. Cameco also sends delegates each year to the World Nuclear University (WNU) Summer Institute, an intense six-week educational challenge aimed at inspiring the next generation of nuclear energy leaders.
McIntyre benefited from both programs. "Attending the 2010 WNU Summer Institute in Oxford, England was the most interesting thing I've ever done," she says. "It was an opportunity to network with 90 amazing young professionals from 35 countries. It gave me a broader understanding of the entire nuclear industry, from a technical, social and political perspective."
It also reaffirmed for her some fundamental values. "As populations and energy demands continue to grow, it's important we take advantage of the clean energy our industry provides," says McIntyre. "I'm very proud to be part of the solution."
McNally-Power, a 27-year Cameco veteran, hears that kind of passion a lot. "We attract highly skilled people who are driven to excel," she says. "But they are also part of a team that really wants to make a difference in their work and in their communities."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Cameco Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- Each year, Cameco sends 2 to 5 employees to the annual World Nuclear University Summer Institute, a 6-week leadership development program that hosts over 80 participants in the nuclear industry from around the world
- Cameco established a trades apprenticeship program which includes mentoring, on-the-job training, and financial support for tuition and living and travel expenses -- in addition, the company maintains an EIT program to support the professional development of metallurgical and mine engineering new graduates as well as a similar program for junior mine, exploration and mineral resources geologists
- Cameco's corporate office is a designated Chartered Accountant Training Office, allowing students who are pursuing their accounting designation to article at the company and rotate through finance, audit, and tax roles
Cameco mines the best from its young employees
For Stephanie Mawson, working at a remote mine site is an intense, but rewarding, experience - and one she believes is well suited for younger employees who can take advantage of the freedom and flexibility offered by fly-in, fly-out shift work.
"It's definitely a lot different than a Monday to Friday, nine-to-five job," says Mawson, 29, a mine engineer at Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine site in northern Saskatchewan. "But at my age, that's part of the appeal."
Mawson currently works two weeks on site and then has two weeks off (home base for her is Saskatoon). When on site, she works 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. The work is innovative, challenging and, at times, stressful. But the workplace culture is informal and convivial ("there's plenty of joking," she says) - a way to counter the long hours and demands of the job.
At the same time, the opportunity to have two weeks off every month (even more when combined with vacation days) provides a lot of time for a young person to pursue personal goals and interests.
"There are a number of young engineers who have been able to pursue a master's degree while still working full time by scheduling classes and studies during their time off," says Mawson. "In my case, it's allowed me to do a lot of travelling, which is something that I love."
Mawson spent four summers working for Cameco while pursuing a degree in geological engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. She worked at two of the three northern Saskatchewan mine sites operated by Cameco, one of the world's largest uranium producers.
After completing her degree in December 2011, Mawson was hired into a new graduate position and automatically enrolled in Cameco's Engineer In Training (EIT) Program. The program offers on-the-job experience and training to develop critical knowledge and skills, helping to prepare young engineers for technical or management careers.
As part of the EIT program, Mawson did work placements at Cameco's head of ce in Saskatoon and in various roles at the Cigar Lake mine site.
She was recently promoted to the position of Mine Engineer, working
in the area of ground control.
Mawson says her experience as a summer student and a member of the EIT program helped her make the transition from school to career. "I've worked with a wide variety of really experienced people from different backgrounds who have given me the bene t of their advice and knowledge," she adds. "Everyone has been really welcoming and willing
to help a young engineer out."
Lynn McNally-Power, Cameco's Vice President of Human Resources, says the company strives to provide training, leadership development and continuous learning opportunities for all of its young employees.
Each year, Cameco sends promising young employees to the World Nuclear University (WNU) Summer Institute, an intense six-week educational challenge aimed at inspiring the next generation of nuclear energy leaders.
"They come back with a new appreciation of our industry and the part we are playing in responsibly meeting global energy demands," observes McNally-Power. "They become ambassadors not just for Cameco, but for the entire industry."
Cameco continues to put a strong emphasis on its summer student,
co-op and apprenticeship programs. "These programs are de nitely a two- way street for us to try out potential employees and for them to try us out," says McNally-Power. "It's a wonderful way to get new talent in the door."
A 27-year Cameco veteran, McNally- Power says today's younger employees are taking charge of their own careers much more than their counterparts of a generation ago. She also credits them with keeping the company vibrant.
"They are constantly bringing new ideas to the table in areas such as social media, informal learning practices and emerging technologies," she says. "They truly are our pipeline to the future."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 23, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Cameco Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016):
- Cameco's Northern Affairs office maintains a dedicated team that focuses specifically on workforce development for residents from northern Saskatchewan (RSN) and consults with Aboriginal leadership, schools and community members on how to create employment opportunities -- also manages a career planning program for high potential Aboriginal RSN employees, in partnership with the Northern Career Quest Mining Project
- Cameco employs Aboriginal Elders at their northern sites to ensure that employees and contractors have a dedicated resource person onsite who is familiar with Aboriginal culture and language
- Cameco partnered with the Mining Industry Human Resource Council and "Women in Mining" for a research project to increase company and industry knowledge on barriers faced by women in mining
Cameco offers a strong career path for Aboriginals
John Desjarlais Jr. grew up in the small northern Saskatchewan community of Cumberland House where he enjoyed a traditional Métis life that included hunting, trapping and fishing. "It's the kind of place where everyone knows everyone's name," he says. "It's very friendly and family-oriented."
When it came time to choose a career path, Desjarlais had a role model close at hand. His father, John Sr., was a longtime employee of Saskatoon-based Cameco, one of the world's largest uranium producers.
John Sr. worked at Cameco's Key Lake mine, about 800 km northwest of Cumberland House, and was a veteran of the fly-in, fly-out schedule that saw him work seven days at Key Lake, followed by seven days back in his home community. It's a way of life his son has since adopted and continues to enjoy immensely.
John Jr. joined Cameco as a radiation technician in 2001. The following year, he moved with his future wife to Saskatoon where she pursued a nursing career. In 2006, Desjarlais began working toward a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
Thanks to Cameco's Career Transition program, Desjarlais remained a salaried employee while pursuing his degree (he graduated in 2011). The company also paid all of his education expenses. He continued to work every summer at the Key Lake operation.
Over the past four years, Desjarlais has worked for Cameco, while also pursuing an MBA at the University of Saskatchewan (he completed that degree this past October). The company provided him with a flexible work schedule to accommodate his course work and he received financial assistance through Northern Career Quest, a training program that Cameco helps support.
During this period, Desjarlais came full circle, moving back to Cumberland House with his wife and young daughter. He is currently a reliability engineer at Key Lake and thrives on the same fly-in, fly-out work schedule his father practised.
"I love it because when I have the seven days off I can be with my family and do the things I enjoy," he says. "And during my seven days on, I'm really able to concentrate on my work."
Cameco runs three mines and two mills in northern Saskatchewan, along with other operations in Ontario, the United States and Kazakhstan. The company places a strong emphasis on recruiting and retaining local talent. Currently, about one-quarter of Cameco's nearly 3,000 Canadian employees are Aboriginal, making the company Canada's number one industrial employer of Aboriginal Peoples.
Cameco is widely recognized for its diverse workforce. In addition to Aboriginals, the company seeks out top-quality recruits from three other key employment diversity groups - members of visible minorities, people with disabilities and women in under-represented roles.
In an industry that is still male-dominated, nearly a quarter of Cameco's Canadian employees are women - a number the company is continuously working to increase. It is also striving to improve diversity at the management level.
"That's a big part of our focus going forward," says Lynn McNally-Power, Cameco's Vice President of Human Resources. "It means ensuring our leadership and career development programs are targeted in the right way to prepare a more diverse set of young leaders to fill roles we know are coming with an aging workforce."
Beyond being the right thing to do, McNally-Power says that a strategic focus on employment equity benefits companies like Cameco in multiple ways.
"The recognition of different viewpoints helps promote a more inclusive style of decision-making and leadership," she says. "There's been a lot of research done that indicates a more diverse workforce leads to better decisions and more successful results for an organization. At the end of the day, it simply makes good business sense."