The human touch

ADAPTIVE and responsive workforce planning strategies will be increasingly critical to industry as the quantity and type of skills required for operations continues to change.
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Government and industry need to collaborate to bring entry level workers skills to appropriate levels.

Andrew Snelling

So says a white paper released by skills competency standards and workforce development organisation SkillsDMC, which provided the paper to Australia’s Mining Monthly ahead of its official release next week. 

 “Megatrends, such as technology, digitalisation, innovation and geopolitical shifts, are influencing the quantity and type of skills required for operations around the world,” the paper says.

“Managing peaks and troughs of workforce demand is a key imperative for industry, as skill requirements ebb and flow and continue to have significant impacts on productivity, safety, and efficiency.

“Pre-emptive and long-term solutions need to be developed to assist all stakeholders in the skills and employment cycle.”

Africa is given as a prime example of the urgent need for skilled people.

According to the African Mineral Development Centre, an organisation put together by various African heads of state to support local benefits gained from resources growth throughout the continent, more than half the continent lacks the skills to support that all-important Holy Grail “innovation”.

Despite this, the International Monetary Fund predicts sub-Saharan Africa will have more people joining the labour force in 20 years’ time than the rest of the world combined and will have a working-age population of 1.25 billion by 2025.

“Influxes of untrained working age individuals make up a large labour force, but without skilling programs for sustainable employment, skills shortages will remain,” the whitepaper says.  

“Similarly, succession and talent management strategies need to be implemented to account for the loss of retiring workers.”

The whitepaper calls for collaboration between government and industry to help local workers develop their entry level skills to operational levels.

This type of collaborative support helps to establish skills bases in the local community which in turn makes potential projects more appealing to investors.

The key, according to SkillsDMC, is forward thinking.

“Skilling is not as simple as putting an individual through a training program. Industry must specify current and future competencies it needs.

“The industry must lead the partnership for any training provider services that are needed to ensure skills are attained by those groups skilling for jobs.”