The mining sector is defined by its ability to adapt and evolve alongside changing global, economic and political conditions, and to refine its approaches based on trends, and customer and stakeholder expectations. A behemoth, it still has the ability to pivot. Today, as the sector steps out from behind the complexities introduced by 2020, it is facing new challenges that have to be overcome to ensure its longevity and sustainable success. One of the most prevalent is skills and expertise.
The search for talent, and the battle to retain it, has been defined as one of the biggest risks for 2022 and beyond in the 2022 and 2031 Executive Perspectives on Top Risks survey. Finding top C-suite talent has always been a challenge, but post-pandemic it has become increasingly difficult to find people who have the talent that the industry requires. The Global Risk Barometer 2022 found that the skills shortage sat in the top ten risks facing South Africa right now, and that economic recovery relies on addressing this issue as effectively and rapidly as possible.
These skills are not just C-level. They are the practical skills, the artisans, the talented employees who are the lifeblood of the sector. The mining sector is not so much at a crossroads than sitting at the top of a rollercoaster that’s ready to drop – it needs to invest into skills development that’s connected to the communities, that upskills existing employees, that directs training at the unemployed in the areas that mines operate, and into platforms that are accessible and relevant.
One leader in the mining sector recently launched its talent development and compliance training solution in collaboration with a NewSpring Learning Management System (LMS) from New Leaf Technologies. The company invested into the blended learning platform to prioritise learning and development of its existing workforce and the communities in which it operates. Forming part of a cohesive and integrated knowledge platform, the solution is community-focused and aligned with the company’s upskilling and reskilling strategy.
The goal of the investment and the platform was to improve the lives of the people living in host communities, and the partnership with New Leaf Technologies is set to make a big difference in the lives of stakeholders and uses innovation to better lives.
The training platform is agile and accessible, supporting more business through its online interface that it could if the company had opted for face-to-face training. Participants can work through the material at their own pace and are gaining significant skills in ways that previously wouldn’t have been available to them. The pilot has already been made available to 50 small to medium enterprises (SMMEs) from two different communities in South Africa and will be constantly adjusted to suit the learning journeys that will facilitate relevant skills development.
“We’ve introduced a learning methodology that allows for the mining company to apply best practice learning techniques to their platform and to consistently support their employees,” says Michael Hanly, Managing Director from New Leaf Technologies. “It’s designed to provide the sector with the ability to create learning opportunities that fit within their specific mandates and requirements, and to meet the growing demand for skills development in the country.”
The use of technology to fast-track skills development is an innovative way of plugging the skills leak from within the organisation. It puts control back into the hands of the sector, giving organisations the ability to meet employee needs and expectations on a fresh and invigorated foundation. Instead of the great resignation, companies can create the great education. They can provide companies with the tools they need to redefine the sector’s biggest challenge into engaged and empowered employees. As Deloitte’s ‘Tracking the Trends 2022: Redefining Mining’ report suggests, an investment in talent makes work matter and gives companies the ability to ‘realise their full human capital potential.’