Embracing new employees for productivity and safety

The resilience of the Australian resources sector has led to more people seeking entry level positions in various, challenging roles within the sector. While this offers more choice in numbers of candidates, their selection by employers is far from easy when evaluating skill sets and attitudes. The investment in time, training and commitment to long-term employee incentive and retention programmes for new entrants is an unenviable task.

Within industry recruitment circles, the old adage ?quality over quantity? has remained true throughout the highs and lows of the economic climate. However, employers are swamped with applications for traineeships and positions from seemingly inexperienced and unqualified candidates to work in surface mining or quarrying. Many employers seek assistance to identify suitable candidates with the core skills they require. New entrants recognise the importance of relevant core skills training that will be recognised by industry.
In response to requests from industry leaders, New South Wales-based Capability Resourcesdeveloped the Mining Industry New Employee Skills (MINES) training programme to identify quality entrants and align them with employer expectations for traineeship intakes and entry level positions. MINES provides employerswith the assurance of gaining qualified candidates, coupled with recognised training and skills development.

In turn, Capability Resources provides new entrants with a pathway to gaining industry recognised training before commencing with clients in demanding operational environments.Its customised training for clients has proven successful over generic training programmes. Coal & Allied Specialist Aboriginal relations spokesperson Cate Sims said that ?the MINES programme gave Coal & Allied operator trainees a sound understanding of the environment they were coming to work in and instilled a strong focus and value on safety?.
MINES sets out industry expectations about personal behaviour and responsibility, as well as identifying and strengthening skills required by entry level positions and roles offered by employers. From the outset, the programme engages entrants in learning and development in a collaborative environment. Team leadership, assessment and management of workplace risks and identifying and implementing hazard controls are all part of this innovative, practical programme. Programme participants gain realistic on site experiences through training offered at the company?s custom-built Skills Training Centre that simulates a modern industry workplace.

?MINES has provided exceptional learningand development opportunities for over 200 participants, and helped more than 50 per cent of programme participants achieve theircareer aspirations to enter the resource industry,? said Capability Resources general manager Nathan Thomson.

After consulting with clients and researching industry needs, Capability Resources customises the training package to align with the desired outcomes of unique operations within the resources sector. MINES deliversemployment outcomes to over half of all participants as a result of obtaining skills and training from this programme.

?ConvaTech utilised Capability?s programme for new employees starting our belt splicing programme,? said Chris Walsh, the human resources and services manager at ConvaTech. ?It was beneficial in accelerating our course content by providing participants with a base line understanding of the safety requirements and industry expectations for employees within the mining and heavy industrial sector. It also provided them with nationally recognisedtraining tickets like confined spaces.?

Workers in surface mining, especially small quarry operations, will, at some stage, be assessed on their capacity to supervise and lead staff. Capability Resources assists clients and their employees with career pathway planning to aid employee loyalty and retention. It provides methods to manage a dynamic, diverse workforce for those seeking to step up to supervisory roles. Through their supervisors and OHS training programmes, participants undertake core skills training in supervision, team leadership and effective communication. Supervisors also require an understanding of the risk assessment process, the ability to facilitate health and safety investigations and knowledge of the management teams and employees? obligations under current legislation. These programmes provide employees with the skills to make the transition easier and more effective for all parties involved. Employers are rewarded with senior staff who possess knowledge of critical operational tasks, allowing them to critically oversee these operations while safeguarding the well-being of the workforce.

Small and medium sized quarry operations rely on experienced, multi-skilled staff with aptitude in communication. Employers recognise this valuable knowledge resource to strengthen the relationship with their staff. The standard for those training and assessing others is the TAA40104 Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.

Employers can enrol staff with Capability Resources in industry-tailored individual or group training programmes, which will provide successful participants with training and assessment materials and the skills-based resources needed for their particular industry.
Capitalising on a wealth of experience, Capability Resources offersone-on-one coaching, insight into preparing for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), along with assessing and preparing evidence that meets the required level of competency. Its high level of customer service is matched only by its attention to detail in helping candidates to achieve recognition as trainers and assessors under the Australian standard.

Capability Resources offers specialist training courses that focus on harnessing staff skills to improve productivity and safety. Partnering with leaders from the resources sector, Capability Resources assists in achieving the highest standards in OHS and operational efficiencies through TapRooT training. TapRooT is a training and software system for root cause analysis of problems, helping companies solve problems by finding and fixing root causes that stop problems from reoccurring.

Capability Resources engineering manager and TapRooT trainer/consultant Peter Berkholz said, ?Accidents and incidents cost the quarry industry in Australia millions of dollars every year. Companies use TapRooT to investigate and fix the root causes of major accidents, quality issues, human errors, maintenance problems, productivity issues, manufacturing mistakes, production delays, etc – in other words, almost every type of problem you can think of.?

Employers have recognised that they can draw upon their internal resources with TapRooT training when examining process change recommendations, suitability of new technology or in the event of incident investigation. TapRooT provides organisations with the assurance that the level of training is consistent across the globe.

Capability Resources continues to support the quarry and extractive industries with electrical awareness training. IQA educationofficer Andrew Kemeny has been pleased with the response to the Electrical Awareness for Quarry Managers and Supervisors course that Capability Resources delivered in most States in 2009. The IQA and Capability Resources plan to work together for similar programmes in 2010.

For further information about Capability Resources, tel 02 6572 2332, email or visit

Greg Murray is the Business Development Manager of Capability Resources, singleton, NSW

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