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An Alcoa Canada Primary Metals employee, who took part in the Fjardaál Smelter project, has decided to stay in Iceland. And, she is already fluent in her new working language of Icelandic!
2008 — Economic
Alcoa Center of Excellence sparks international exchange
From its base in Québec, the Center of Excellence ensures that the expertise and know-how of the employees of the Baie-Comeau, Bécancour and Deschambault smelters are shared with their colleagues around the world.
The mandate of the Center of Excellence, founded in the spring of 2006, is to help with the start-up of new Alcoa facilities across the globe. In the last two years alone, it has already contributed to the commissioning of a new smelter in Iceland and a new anode plant in Norway.
The skills of over a hundred Alcoa Canada employees were put to optimal use on these projects. The experts came from every sector, from engineering to production, the environment and finance, human resources, health and safety and even members of management. Resources from Alcoa in the United States, Italy, Brazil and Spain joined their Canadian colleagues. All contributed to sharing best practices through “coaching”, by intervening directly on the worksite rather than in the classroom.
The Fjardaál smelter in Iceland provides a prime illustration of the efforts undertaken by the Alcoa Center of Excellence. Resources from 11 primary products plants contributed to its start-up, with up to 61 expatriates working on-site. Pierre Lapointe, director of the Center in 2007, explained that 140,000 people-hours were dedicated to knowledge transfer to Fjardaál employees over the last two years, or the equivalent of 65 full-time employees for a year. This encompasses not only the hours that people from here spent in Iceland but also the visits made by Icelandic colleagues to Québec and other plants, including three weeks of management training in Brazil.
Coordinating this type of network is no small feat, with entire families uprooted for contracts that can extend as long as 24 months, and over 380 return trips from Québec to Iceland over two years.