Rio Tinto Alcan affirms commitment to keeping young people in school and takes action to prepare the workforce of tomorrow

MONTREAL, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - "Our success as a society depends on the success of each individual, and that's why it's so important to help young people realise their potential by stepping up our efforts to encourage  them to stay in school," said Rio Tinto Alcan CEO Jacynthe Côté during a panel discussion today at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal's Hot Issues@Lunch business luncheon at the Sheraton Centre.

Helping young people reach their potential

As a participant in the panel on "The vital role of business in supporting the development of tomorrow's workforce," Côté emphasized the need for businesses to get involved in educating young people in order to ensure the renewal of a skilled workforce. "With nearly 20,000 young people in Québec quitting school without earning a diploma, we clearly need to make a serious effort to tackle the drop-out rate," said Côté. "As a world leader in the aluminium industry, Rio Tinto Alcan is eager to contribute to the educational development of our young people. The renewal of the workforce is one of our priorities and we are working with specialists to build our knowledge on this issue," she added.

In January 2010, Rio Tinto Alcan launched its Keeping Youth in School Together programme, an investment of $15 million over five years in various projects aimed at encouraging young people to complete their studies and earn a high school diploma. The programme supports community organisations with a proven track record and which are based in areas where Rio Tinto Alcan operates, including Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean, home to the majority of Rio Tinto Alcan's 7,000 employees in Québec. By means of this programme financial support has been provided to a number of projects in Québec including Parcours 0 - 20 ans, Aiguise ta matière grise, the Conseil régional de prévention de l'abandon scolaire (CRÉPAS), le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie, Forces AVENIR, the Pathways to Education Program™, Allô Prof and the "At my school, we keep the beat!" project at the Samajam percussion school.

Our efforts are paying off

For nearly 15 years now, Rio Tinto Alcan has been supporting stay-in-school initiatives in the Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean region through its partnership with CRÉPAS which has made it possible to involve all the youth organisations in an effort to reduce the drop-out rate in the region. The Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean region now boasts a high-school completion rate of 74.2 per cent, the highest in Québec.

About the Rio Tinto Alcan Canada Fund

The Rio Tinto Alcan Canada Fund is committed to providing support for community-building initiatives which integrate environmental, economic and social considerations, and which meet the needs of the present while safeguarding our legacy for future generations. Targeting projects that demonstrate innovation, collaboration, new learning, and inclusion, the Fund gives priority to ideas that have the potential for measurable progress toward local sustainability. Beneficiaries of the Fund include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, BIXI, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC).

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

SOURCE RIO TINTO ALCAN - EN

For further information:

Media Relations
Rio Tinto Alcan 
Bryan Tucker
Tel. : +1 514 848 8151
bryan.tucker@riotinto.com

Media Relations,
Rio Tinto Alcan, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
Claudine Gagnon
Tel. : +1 418 699 4005
claudine.gagnon@riotinto.com

Website: www.riotintoalcan.com

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RIO TINTO ALCAN - EN

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