December 16, 2022

Skill Shortage Affecting Staff Progression

Skill Shortage Affecting Staff Progression

Everyone in the mining industry will by now have heard of and discussed the skill shortage. There is no end to the press attention currently looming over the industry, with managers in sites all over the world wondering what it might mean for the education of their new Mining Engineers. However, discussions mostly end with the certain knowledge that the industry is facing a shortage in skilled workers, and it rarely progresses to what options and solutions are available.

The number of education establishments offering Mining Engineering courses are dwindling, and even fewer people are enrolling. This will inevitably affect the future of your mine site. We are already beginning to see the below pattern playing out:

  • The last graduate you hired is looking to progress their career. They are hard-working and capable, and ready to move up in responsibility. They approach you for a promotion.
  • Drill & blast is often the starting position for graduates at a mine site – from here a promotion might take them to senior drill & blast or into planning engineering.
  • You agree that this engineer is ready to move into one of these roles, and you begin hiring for a new graduate engineer to relieve their duties and allow them to move up.
  • A small number of unsuitable applicants mean that you are unable to hire someone.
  • The graduate continues in the same role with no certain answer on where their career might lead within your company.They begin to look to other sites for further opportunities.
  • You must continue to recruit for the position, having now lost a valuable asset to your team.
  • Your other engineers are put under pressure as you become understaffed, and production rates on site begin to slip.

This scenario is becoming all too common, as we see the direct impact that recruiting for an engineering position has on the planned meters a mine is producing. However, solutions are becoming available to fill the gaps left by the skill shortage. We are seeing a development in enhanced software capabilities, as well as the training of engineers from other disciplines (mechanical and civil engineers, for example), and engineering apprenticeships. Whilst in the long run these will be hugely beneficial to the industry, they all have a long lead time and do not offer immediate relief.

Delve Mining Solutions can provide short-term solutions for a site struggling with staff and skill shortages. We have a team of qualified and trained engineers ready to deliver long- or short-term operational assistance, to ensure that your mine continues to profit. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

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