Canyon Coal trainees thankful for training

By | 2020-02-13T15:10:21+00:00 February 17th, 2020|

To address the mining skills shortage in the Bronkhorstspruit area where Canyon Coal’s Khanye Colliery is located, the company embarked on an upskilling programme for locals. Twenty community members attended a 30-day mobile machinery for surface mining training programme between November and December 2019 at Khanye Colliery.

Menar Group Social Licensing Manager Xolile Mankayi says that the main aim of the training programme is to reskill community members as they do not have mining-related skills. Image credit: The Maroon Post – Canyon Coal

Menar Group Social Licensing Manager Xolile Mankayi says that the main aim of the training programme is to reskill community members as they do not have mining-related skills. Image credit: The Maroon Post – Canyon Coal

Khanye Colliery General Manager Guy Thompson explains, “When we started the mine and began employing operators, we prioritised employing people who lived in the local communities near the mine. It was early on that we identified the need for this type of training. This is because historically, Bronkhorstspruit is not a mining area therefore there was a lack of people who had the skills required by the mine.”

Menar Group Social Licensing Manager Xolile Mankayi says: “The main aim of the training programme is to reskill community members as they do not have mining related skills. Some people were trying to submit fraudulent certificates in an attempt to gain employment on the mine. Therefore, we came up with this initiative to bridge the skills gap by upskilling community members. We cannot employ all of those that we train, but this will give them the tools and abilities to find work at other mines. Khanye will now have a database of people that we have trained who we can call upon when new opportunities arise.”

The trainees were given theoretical and practical training on how to safely and correctly operate machinery, such as articulated dump trucks Hazchem firefighting and first aid training which adds to their overall skills sets and employability.

Canyon appointed a skills development company Progressive Training Development and Projects to run the training. Facilitator and Assessor Nierenda Machete points out that after every module the trainees wrote a test to ensure that they understood what they had been taught and once they had successfully completed all modules, they receive a certificate of completion of the training course.

“Canyon Coal aims to upskill the local community and increase their opportunities of securing a job within the mining sector and this training course reiterates our commitment to this goal,” Xolile states.

Going forward, he says, the plan, is to offer operator training courses to community members ranging from basic to advanced levels, in order to build up a comprehensive mining skills database of accredited and trusted people who have received proper training.

“I stress proper training because there are these fly-by-night schools that run one or two days of training and issue people with certificates – these are not accredited institutions and offer candidates no real value,” he explains.

Xolile says that with regards to the criteria for trainees both young and more mature members of the community were eligible to participate in the training. “We did not want to restrict the training to young people as the need for skills development cuts across ages. If we start implementing age restrictions then older people who may have been unemployed for some time would be, unfairly denied the opportunity to improve their lives. That being said, the majority of places on the course were awarded to young people.”

Feedback from trainees

Max Mkheswa (29) trainee: “My interest in participating in this training was to acquire more skills in the mining sector. The mining industry in Bronkhorstspruit is still new, which is why it is important for me, as a local to gain skills and knowledge to be able to contribute to this sector. I hope to use my new skills to uplift myself and the community I live in. An important part of the training has been the high focus on mine health and safety including an in depth understanding of legislation.”

Thembisile Nkosi (32) trainee: “I have always been interested in getting involved in the mining industry and I thought by going on this training programme it would be a great way to increase my chances of getting into the sector. I have learnt a lot, beyond my expectations in fact. I have learnt a great deal regarding safety, first aid and basic firefighting. I am really appreciative to Canyon Coal for providing me with the opportunity to learn and I intend to use it wisely. Jobs are very scarce and having skills will increase my employability prospects and I just want to take this opportunity with both hands!”

“The training programme at Khanye Colliery was a pilot project and once the financial and logistical sustainability and feasibility of the programme has been established it is the intention to roll the programme out throughout all of Menar Group mines,” Xolile concludes.

Source: The Maroon Post – Canyon Coal (Canyon Coal’s Newsletter)