In January 2018, Atagootak completed his first shift as a Long Hole Blaster, one of the highest unionized positions underground, after six months of intensive training as part of the RIDE (Rapid Inuit Development and Employment) program. We took this opportunity to ask him a few questions regarding his journey at Raglan Mine.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 25 years old, from the Inuit village of Inukjuak, but I am now living around Montreal, I work as a Long Hole Blaster at Raglan Mine on a 3-2 schedule (three weeks of work, two weeks off).
I started at Raglan Mine back in 2012, as a Dry attendant. In 2014, I joined the STOPE School, a two-year program that trains Inuit employees to become a service miner. I enjoyed it from the beginning because I like working with machinery.
How did you ended up following the RIDE (Rapid Inuit Development and Employment) program?
In 2017, Patrice or Samwillie (from Tamatumani), I can't remember, came to me and asked if I was interested in taking part in the RIDE program, which aims to support Inuit personnel to achieve higher level positions (Long Hole Blaster in my case). I thought about it and I told them I would give it a shot and see if I was going to like it or not. They said: Let's try.
So I started the RIDE program in July 2017. I was assigned a companion with a lot of experience, Franck Lapierre, and I followed him for six months to learn what is good to do and what is not.
Now that the training is over, how do you like your new position?
It is all going good now! I am working with Vicki (the first Inuk woman to complete the Stope School). She is my work partner.
What do you like the most about your job?
I love that we are always moving, - by this I mean not only going up and down with a truck all day! Raglan is a great place to work, and I appreciate that we don't pay for food and that there is lots of stuff to do.
Thanks Atagootak and congratulations for your new position!