Employee Training and Development
We require all mine site personnel in Bisha to undergo an extensive project safety, environmental, and administrative induction program. Our employee training program includes induction (including human rights aspects of harassment and discrimination), health and safety, leadership, process, mining and engineering, food safety and catering, and systems and software technical services. Cultural awareness training is also provided to all employees and is conducted in an inclusive format between expatriates and the local workforce. In addition, some departments sponsor monthly team-building events that include activities to increase knowledge of their fellow workers and enhance cooperation and teamwork amongst our diverse workforce.
We also provide human-rights orientation on the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights (VPs) to the relevant BMSC Heads of Departments, as well as to our local security provider, Binae. The VPs were incorporated into induction training for all workers in 2015. In 2016, all of Binae’s security force took the formal training in the VPs and additional training on the use of force is scheduled for 2017.
We do not permit anyone to work on our Bisha property who has not completed the safety, environmental and area specific familiarization induction program, and who are verified to meet the employment requirements of the BMSC Human Resources Plan. We also require periodic re-inductions at site to enhance safety and environmental performance and reconfirm that all personnel on site continue to meet established standards.
Professional Development and the Bisha Training Centre
We encourage all national employees, both male and female, to grow professionally and advance at our operations. Despite our efforts in local employment and training, we still require some expatriate specialists for specific skills that are unavailable in the local or national workforce.
To build local capacity, we have delivered technical trades and managerial/leadership training courses at the Bisha Mine. In 2016, the Bisha Training Center delivered over 28,000 hours more training than the previous year. The focus in 2016 was on safety, given some near miss incidents over the past few years that reinforced our need to double our efforts to maintain our exceptional safety record. We introduced a number of new safety courses such as Task Based Risk Assessment (TBRA), fatigue management, safety representative, fire warden, and the effective use of radio communication. These safety courses were designed to further reduce potential incidents and add to the overall safety culture at the Bisha Mine. In 2017, we are planning to add Planned Task Observation (PTO) in which trained supervisors/trainers will observe actions related to health and safety as well as efficiency and productivity to provide feedback and document PTOs in their respective work areas. All of these courses have both theoretical and practical training components in which the trainees are expected to demonstrate their competency in respect to company safety and work protocols.
Several advances were made in 2016 to the BMSC Training Center’s Engineering modules. The four levels of core, basic, intermediate, and advanced, ensure that employees are able to progress to increasing levels of competency and pay grade in this area. Assessments are translated into the local language – Tigrinya – to allow employees to perform their concept understanding and capabilities without language hindrance. Additional, advanced level skills were taught by inviting high-level international experts to train advanced concepts and practical skills to the AC/Refrigeration technicians, Caterpillar T-Training for Heavy Mechanic Engineers, Medium Voltage Switching for intermediate and advanced level Plant Electricians and Electrical Engineering Graduate Trainees. In 2017, Engineering Trainers will be mostly working on-site to practically train capable tradespersons to intermediate and advanced levels while providing Core and Basic levels to all remaining program participants. However, the ongoing challenge remains our low numbers of labourers in our engineering departments. A new program is in place and engineering line management is playing a constructive role to work on enticing local workers to feel committed to this important mining-related profession.
For 2016, production training plans had been set according to evolving business needs. Twenty-four (24) Process and Chemical Engineering graduate trainees have filled the skilled labour needs in our process plant and assisted in projects dealing with the difficult ore we encountered during the transition stage to zinc. Additionally, thirty-eight (38) Mining Engineering graduates continue to be trained and provide crew presentations, translations in safety, technical and operational assistance to the Bisha Mine management. In the Bisha Technical Services department, 2-RC drillers and 28 Pit Technicians underwent a 2 year theoretical and hands- on practical module and were competently certified. Furthermore, in 2017, advanced levels in blasting and drilling courses will continue to be offered to upgrade the skill sets of local employees. In order to improve efficiency and quality of services, other new courses offered in 2016 included international Trainer/Assessor Certification for Bisha Training & Development staff and online short-courses for human resource officers and administrative staff with the University of Cape Town.
We continue to utilize personal development plans (PDPs) to create detailed training plans for employees that show initiative and the potential to grow. This is designed specifically for those who can replace expatriate-filled positions as well as those capable of taking increased levels of responsibility. These PDPs include identifying gaps and training in technical knowledge, reporting skills, computer skills, and English writing skills. Given this is Eritrea’s inaugural mining operation, it is important that the expectations are managed in a realistic manner that are sensitive to local capacity and job creation, as well as running a highly technical industrialized operation by qualified individuals.