Human resource development is a key component of any mine or quarry’s social labour plan or “SLP”. Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is one of the methods with which companies in the resource extraction industry upskill their own employees and members of communities that are located within their operational footprint, and from where they source their labour. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training equips people with the skills that they need to continue learning to improve their employability.
These English literacy and basic maths skills will also enable them to find jobs in other industries when the operation downsizes to adapt to market demands or reaches the end of its life and, therefore, winds down. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also uplift communities by equipping people with essential skills that they use in all facets of life. While established mines are very familiar with legislation and have their own adult literacy training and adult numeracy training departments, their smaller counterparts and quarries, especially the “independents”, turn to Triple E Training to help them meet their social labour plan or “SLP” commitments. Triple E Training is a leading accredited training provider with more than 30 years of experience providing quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training to industry.
Mines continue to invest in quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to uplift the skills of their workforce and communities that reside within their operational footprints and from where they source their labour. This is to fulfil the commitments that they have made in their social labour plans or “SLPs”. While most large mining houses have their own adult basic education and training or “ABET” teams and are well versed in the human resource development component of the social labour plans or “SLPs”, emerging miners and juniors, as well as quarry operators, particularly mid-tier participants and “independents”, are outsourcing their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training requirements to Triple E Training. This leading accredited training provider has been supplying quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to companies operating across a broad spectrum of industries for more than 30 years. This includes participants in the resource extraction industry.
ABOUT SOCIAL LABOUR PLANS OR “SLPs”
Social labour plans or “SLPs” are a way of addressing inequality in the mining industry. According to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act or “MPRDPA”, all South Africans are beneficiaries of the country’s vast mineral resources. This includes mine workers and communities that reside within mining operations’ footprints and from where labour is sourced. Government oversees the use of mineral resources and ensures that all South Africans benefit from their extraction and beneficiation. In fulfilling this role, the state awards mining rights to companies based on the strength of the commitments that they have made in their social labour plans or “SLPs”. In these social labour plans or “SLPs”, mines and quarries outline how they intend creating employment; advance social and economic welfare; contribute to the transformation of the industry at large; and ensure that their operations will help develop communities.
Despite these robust laws that have been in force for many years, most mining communities still live in abject poverty and in areas where illiteracy and innumeracy are rife. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that social labour plans or “SLPs” are often drafted without consulting the communities who are supposed to benefit from them. This means that the social labour plans or “SLPs” do not address the real needs of communities located within mines’ or quarries’ operational footprints, or from where they source their labour. In other instances, mines and quarries are simply not committed to fulfilling their obligations and this is largely going unchecked by the authorities. This is because the Department of Mineral Resources lacks adequate capacity to ensure that all mines are meeting their obligations. Generally, limited resources are dedicated to the larger participants considering the extent of their reach and magnitude of their impact. This means that the activities of smaller operations are largely going undetected. The extent of the lack of capacity that the authorities have to police the industry is demonstrated by dwindling occupational health and safety in some mining sectors and a rise in illegal mining and quarrying operations.
ACCREDITED ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” PROVIDER
Accredited training provider supplies high impact adult education and training or “AET” to mines and quarries
With a large national footprint, the accredited training provider is able to travel to the most remote areas of the country to deliver its quality adult basic education and training or “ABET”. This, combined with skilled and experienced training facilitators who are also very familiar with the mining and quarrying industries, remains one of the accredited training provider’s strategic differentiators in this market. Moreover, Triple E Training has a thorough understanding of the human resources development requirement in social labour plans or “SLPs”.
The accredited training provider is, therefore, able to best advise new and smaller participants in the industry which generally do not understand the policy and legislative requirements regarding the so-called “softer” issues of mining and how they are integrated. This challenge is often exacerbated by limited internal capacity, as well as skills and systems to cope with the multi-disciplinary nature of social labour plans or “SLPs”. Sometimes smaller budgets compared to those of established mining companies also hinder compliance with social labour plans or “SLPs”.
DEFINING THE MINING INDUSTRY
|CATEGORY||ACTIVITY||OPERATION||GROSS ASSET VALUE||ANNUAL SALES VALUE|
|Majors||Production||Global markets||>R8 billion||>R8billion|
|Juniors||Contractors, production and exploration companies||South African based||>R18 million but below R8 billion||From R30 million to R8 billion|
|Emerging miners||Exploration/ production||South African based||Below R1 billion||Below R1 billion|
|Small scale (formal)||Producers||Regionally based||Up to R18 million||Up to R30 million|
|Small scale (Informal)||Producers||Locally based||Up to R150 000||Up to R500 000|
COMMITMENTS ENSHRINED IN SOCIAL LABOUR PLANS
Adult education and training or “AET” for human resource development
These companies are granted mining rights by government based on the strength of the social labour plans or “SLPs” that they submit to the Department of Mineral Resources or “DMR”. It is a commitment made by junior and emerging miners, as well as quarries that their future operations will benefit employees and affected communities who are also the beneficiaries of South Africa’s rich mineral reserves. One of these commitments is that companies will invest in developing their own human resources. This is in addition to upgrading the skills of affected communities, which fall within the operational footprint, and those areas from which labour is sourced. Adult basic education and training or “ABET”, including adult basic literacy training and adult basic numeracy training, is a major component of this aspect of the social labour plan or “SLP”. This is in addition to bursaries, apprenticeships and learnerships. Bear in mind the high levels of illiteracy in rural areas of the country.
This is fuelling poverty, considering that people who are unable to read and write in languages, such as English, and do basic maths will struggle to secure employment in an economy that is relying increasingly on sophisticated skills. They are, thus, dependent on state welfare, which places significant strain on the national fiscus and is barely enough to live on, considering the soaring cost of living. Due to high levels of unemployment, there is also more crime in these areas. People who do not have literacy and basic maths skills also struggle to make informed decisions or participate meaningfully in society. Moreover, parents who are functionally illiterate tend to prioritise work before education. This means that their children are more likely to follow in their footsteps and not complete their education, fuelling the cycle of illiteracy through generations. It is, thus, evident why adult education and training or “AET”, including English literacy and basic maths instruction, has been prioritised as means of uplifting mining communities by the Department of Mineral Resources.
MINIING SECTOR CONTRIBUTION TO PROVINCIAL ECONOMIES – GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT BASIC PRICES
MINING PROVINCIAL OVERVIEW FOR 2020
|2020||Eastern Cape||Free State||Gauteng||KwaZulu-Natal||Limpopo||Mpumalanga||North West||Northern Cape||Western Cape|
|Mining sector contribution to provincial economies in 2020 (GDP value added (%))||0.2||8.9||1.5||1.4||34.6||23.6||35.7||27.8||0.3|
|Compensation of employees (Rm)||227||14,602||14,404||3,823||41,559||28,130||39,431||9,733||723|
|Gross fixed capital formation (Rm)||53,605||42,398||251,234||129,211||61,688||78,429||52,174||18,808||96,073|
|Total mining employment||1,512||36,470||51,177||9,396||49,599||92,363||196,158||14,800||1,353|
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET” FOR AN UNSKILLED WORKFORCE
Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training helps mine workers develop their careers and grow as individuals
The mining industry still relies heavily upon unskilled workers. This is despite the need to modernise operations to meet mechanisation targets. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training equips these employees with the basic English literacy and numeracy skills that they need to continue learning new skills. This is in the same way that the accredited training provider services other industries that rely heavily on unskilled workers, such as construction and agriculture. However, in order to ensure the sustainability of the local mining industry and its ability to compete at a global level, more operations will have to automate and mechanise.
This will also improve health and safety in the mining industry. Adult education and training or “AET” will, therefore, play an even greater role in the industry moving forward. Bear in mind the important role that adult education and training or “AET” plays in equipping low skilled employees with the basic proficiencies that they need to continue learning and adding value. At the most basic level, automation and mechanisation require employees who are able to read and write English and understand basic maths.
SOCIAL LABOUR PLAN OR “SLP” IS A BINDING AGREEMENT
Honouring the commitments in your social labour plans or “SLP” through quality adult education and training or “AET”
Importantly, a social labour plan or “SLP” is a binding agreement between the mining house and quarry operator and the authorities and non-compliance will, therefore, lead to the suspension of the mining right. The various commitments must be honoured by the mine and quarry over a five-year-long cycle. Companies are, therefore, required to draft a new social labour plan or “SLP” for the next cycle before the five years elapse. This process continues until the end of life of mine or “LOM”. By this time, low skilled employees, are expected to have received sufficient training to help them secure jobs in other sectors.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET”
The human resources development programme of a social labour plan or “SLP” must describe how the mine intends to develop the skills of workers and community members. This must include skills relevant to mining, as well as those that can be used in other sectors. The types of projects that may be found in this section include adult basic education and training or “ABET”, artisan training, learnerships, bursaries and other training initiatives for people in the community. The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act or “MPRDA” regulations stipulate that this must include:
|A||A skills development plan for the workforce. This must set out the number of workers and their skills levels. It must also provide “difficult-to -fill vacancies”. These are positions the company has been unable to fill over a period of at least a year.|
|B||A career progression plan which ensures workers are able to progress to more senior positions.|
|C||A mentorship plan where workers are paired with mentors to make sure they can progress in their careers.|
|D||The employment equity statistics of the mine, as well as its plan to ensure that 10% of the people participating in mining are women, and 40% of management positions are occupied by historically disadvantaged South Africans within five years from the granting of the mining right.|
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING AND MANAGING RETRENCHMENTS
The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act sets out that the human resources development programme, which includes adult basic education and training or “ABET”, must include:
|A||Plans to save jobs and avoid job losses and a decline in employment.|
|B||Plans to provide alternative solutions and procedures for creating job security where job losses cannot be avoided.|
|C||Plans to minimise the social and economic impact on individuals, regions and local economies where retrenchment and closure of the mine is certain.|
FINANCIAL PROVISION FOR THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SOCIAL LABOUR PLAN
The social labour plan or “SLP” must state the sums of money budgeted for the following sections:
|A||The human resources development programme|
|B||The local economic development programme|
|C||The process to manage downscaling and retrenchment|
THE LARGE IMPACT OF ENGLISH LITERACY TRAINING
Empowering communities through quality adult basic education and training or “ABET”
Barring the importance of English literacy in securing and retaining employment, this skill plays a critical role in helping learners to become engaged citizens of the country. Once they have completed their training, they will be able to keep abreast of the latest events, communicate effectively and understand issues that shape the world. Improved English literacy also has a profound positive impact on the health of community members. Bear in mind that people who are literate make better decisions regarding nutrition and preventative care.
This also helps alleviate the burden on an already strained public healthcare system, over-and-above the many benefits it provides individuals. Literate mothers are also able to better assist their children achieve academic success to help break the cycle of illiteracy in many poor areas of the country. English literacy training, therefore, remains a critical component of community upliftment. Another subject often selected by Triple E Training’s clients for adult education and training or “AET” community training programmes and to raise the proficiencies of low skilled workers is basic maths. This is because basic maths skills help individuals to develop logical thinking. People who have basic maths skills can reason to solve problems and make sense of numbers, time, patterns and shapes. This is not only essential for the workplace, but also for activities such as cooking, as well as reading receipts and instructions.
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE EMPLOYED BY THE MINING INDUSTRY IN 2020 BY COMMODITY
|Platinum group metals||1 63 538|
|Iron ore||20 607|
|Chrome ore||19 587|
|Industrial minerals||11 787|
Triple E Training continues to provide quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to a leading construction materials producer as one of the accredited training provider’s many clients in the quarrying industry. The accredited training provider has been providing high quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to the company since 2010 to support its community development projects. This is in addition to the role that the accredited training provider’s adult literacy training and adult numeracy training are playing in enabling the company to successfully meet its social labour plan or “SLP” obligations under the Mining Charter.
The accredited training provider has provided a consistently high quality of service to the construction materials producer over the years. This includes an ability to tailor training projects to meet the unique requirements of each individual quarry in the group. The accredited training provider is also supplying a similar high-quality service to a coal producer, among one of Triple E Training’s clients in this mining sub-sector. Demand for its quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training remains high in the coal-production sector where there are many new and smaller players that need to comply with mining legislation. They are supplying coal to the state-owned power utility which is very reliant on fossil-fuel energy generation.
HOW ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET” UPLIFTS COMMUNITIES
Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is helping to break high levels of illiteracy in rural areas. The benefits of literacy are as follows:
- Literacy improves health: Research continues to show a strong correlation between adult literacy and lower infant mortality rates. This is because women who attend adult literacy training are more likely to seek medical help for themselves and their children when needed. They are also more prone to embrace preventative health measures, such as immunisation. There is also a strong correlation between literacy and sound family planning. Individuals who possess literacy skills are also able to follow instructions from their doctors more easily. Notably, being able to read in a language, such as English, is a major advantage in a health crisis such as the one that the world has just experienced. This is especially considering the amount of misinformation on Covid-19 and vaccinations in the public. It is essential that citizens of the country are able to think logically and critically when making decisions regarding their health and safety.
- Literacy builds skills and facilitates lifelong learning: Adult basic education and training or “ABET” equips individuals with the English literacy and basic maths skills that they need to continue learning to adapt to a rapidly changing world and, in doing so, improving their circumstances.
- Literacy helps develop and grow the economy to create more jobs: Literacy remains an effective means of fighting poverty. People who do not possess basic English literacy skills or who are not functionally literate will struggle to secure employment. Those who do work, will not be able to grow and develop their careers simply because they do not have the basic English literacy and numeracy skills to enable them to do so. There jobs are also at risk as industries embrace sophisticated technologies that rely on advanced skills sets.
- Literacy promotes gender equality: Women remain powerful change drivers in their community, especially when they are literate. Research has shown that, for every 10% increase of women students in a country, the gross-domestic product rises by an average of 3%. Furthermore, literate women are more independent and engaged within society. Because they value learning, they will also more likely send their children to school and ensure that they complete their education. In this way, adult literacy training and adult numeracy training helps to break the cycle of illiteracy in communities.
- Literacy promotes democracy and peace in societies: Literate citizens are also more likely to participate in politics because they are informed. This includes exercising their right to vote and finding other ways to participate in democratic institutions.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BASIC MATHS SKILLS
People use their maths skills to grow and increase their potential and to make a positive contribution to society. Basic maths skills have become increasingly important in a technical world that requires an ability to interpret data. As a result of the importance of basic maths skills, more employers expect candidates applying for jobs to complete numeracy tests. People who possess numeracy skills have an ability to access, use, interpret and communicate maths-based information and ideas. Basic maths skills enable people to engage in and manage the maths demands of various situations in their adult lives in a confident manner. Importantly, basic maths skills enable people to develop logical thinking and an ability to reason strategy in their everyday activities
Learn more about Triple E Training and our quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training that meets the needs of the South African mining and quarrying industries. www.eee.co.za