Mining industry drilling services provider Rosond is in the process of becoming an accredited Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta) training provider.
Rosond training manager Carlo Claassens says Merseta will conduct its first site visit of Rosond’s three training facilities next month to evaluate and standardise the company’s training programmes according to Merseta’s educational standards and accreditation specifications.
According to Merseta, accredited institutions or companies will promote and sustain the quality of education and training delivery and the assessments thereof. These education providers should also help trainees identify learning opportunities, unit standards and/or qualifications that match their needs and potential.
Rosond’s training has served as a benchmark for training in the mining drilling industry since 2010, Rosond operations director Ricardo Ribeiro tells Mining Weekly, adding that the Merseta accreditation will strengthen the company’s training credibility and further improve the quality of its training.
Rosond has a training facility in Carletonville, Gauteng, and Rustenburg, in the North West, as well as a satellite training centre at platinum miner Anglo American Platinum’s Dishaba mine, previously known as Amandelbult, near Northam, in Limpopo.
“As the business grew, we realised the importance of establishing formalised training and proper training facilities,” says Ribeiro.
Ins and Outs
Rosond employees undergo a rigorous initial recruitment stage during which they write an initial test to ensure that they have adequate numeracy and literacy skills, as well as a psychometric test to evaluate whether a candidate has the personality to handle the challenging underground mining environment.
“It is necessary to be a team player, as well as ambitious, to progress through the promotional ranks in the training,” notes Ribeiro.
He adds that employees also undergo physical training and watch videos on what they can expect in the underground mining environment. “The employees have to grasp what they’re getting into and be able to cope with challenges, including high temperatures, the humidity and noise levels, and the logistics of the mazelike environment.”
Rosond prepares employees as much as possible before sending them underground, where they represent the company at its clients’ projects to avoid a high employee turnover and develop employees from novice level to senior managers.
After completing initial tests, Rosond offers employees induction training whereby they are equipped with the practical skills required to safely and effectively work on projects at which Rosond is contracted to carry out mining drilling.
Novice employees start out as helpers and, following further training, can advance to become assistant operators or operators of drilling mining machinery.
“Drill rig operator training is aimed at developing an employee’s technical expertise in relation to the type of drill rig he or she will operate – from exploration drilling on the surface to underground drilling, pack grouting and geotechnical drilling.”
Rosond’s training involves continuous assessments using a specialised digital assessment system, which functions as a database to keep track of employees’ training progress and determine gaps in the company’s available talent pool deployed across various mines.
These assessments are done underground by qualified assessors and each training programme is presented by a specialist in the field.
After trained operators gain experience in the field, they qualify to be considered for training at the Leadership Academy. The academy is used by Rosond to develop managerial skills for the entry-level role of supervisor, then foreman and eventually site manager.
“We are transparent in our progression process. Employees have a career path set out for them and we continuously communicate during the training to improve our training methods and content, as well as keep every employee’s morale high,” Ribeiro asserts.
Further, Rosond also accepts ten interns a year for three months, enabling them to gain practical experience in various departments of the company, including finance, geology, and electrical and mechanical engineering. This year’s internships will start in November.
The candidates for the internships are mostly recent school and university graduates from the nearby Tembisa township, in Gauteng, says Ribeiro, adding that Rosond sees value in uplifting and educating members of this community.
Case in Point
Last year, Rosond employee James Mathibela was promoted to senior site manager at the Rosond’s pack grouting operation at the Rowland shaft of the Marikana mine, in the North West, which platinum miner Lonmin owns.
He started out as a helper at the company in March 2003, before its training programmes were formalised.
“Mathibela is testament to how Rosond advances its employees from the bottom up and he realised the value of his commitment to the training,” says Ribeiro.
Rosond considers its training a living organism that adapts to the company’s and employees’ needs. “We’ve developed our training material to suit the South African market and mining environment and will continue to do so,” he concludes.