MONTREAL, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Rio Tinto Alcan Canada Fund will invest more than $15 million over five years to support concrete action to encourage young people to stay in school and complete their high school diploma. The Keeping youth in school together program will support various youth organisations' projects and initiatives.
"The high rate of school drop-outs and the call to action from L. Jacques Ménard and Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne motivated us to get involved," said Jacynthe Côté, Chief executive, Rio Tinto Alcan, at a Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal luncheon. "We believe that the business community must take steps to counter this phenomenon and support the education system. It is important that we prepare the next generation to run our businesses and ensure a promising future for Quebec society."
The Keeping youth in school together program will support community organisations with a proven strategy to encourage students to complete their studies in regions where Rio Tinto Alcan operates. Several initiatives funded by the program will be announced in the coming year. Rio Tinto Alcan also intends to collaborate with other members of the business community to launch a collective effort to improve the educational success of young people in Quebec.
"Several sectors are facing a shortage of qualified workers and a large talent pool is being underdeveloped as a result of dropping out of school, which represents a genuine threat to the productivity and continuity of our businesses," added Ms. Côté. "There are numerous fields of study available to complement the aptitudes and interests of our young people and lead them to rewarding employment opportunities."
In March 2009, a report by the Groupe d'action sur la persévérance scolaire et la réussite scolaire au Québec, led by L. Jacques Ménard, president of the BMO Financial Group, revealed that only 69 per cent of young Quebecers complete high school before age 20.
The authors of the report went on to recommend that Quebec make student retention the focus of a province-wide initiative. The Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Michelle Courchesne, subsequently implemented an action strategy with the objective of increasing the high school graduation rate for students under 20 to 80 per cent by 2020.
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, talc) 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
For further information: For further information: Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations: Stefano Bertolli, (514) 848-8151, email@example.com; www.riotintoalcan.com