As a leading innovator in mining skills development, the Murray & Roberts Training Academy (MRTA) is using a coaching initiative to strength the outcomes of its supervisor training.
According to Tony Pretorius, education, training and development (ETD) executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, the aim is to raise the impact of the training investment, to deliver optimal team performance. This intervention builds on the success of the company’s Licence to Supervise Programme which targets miners, artisans, shift bosses and engineering foremen.
“By deploying specialised coaches who understand the concepts of neuroscience and safety leadership – as well as technical skills in mining – we can ensure our supervisors effectively apply in the workplace what they are taught on our courses,” says Pretorius. “While the Licence to Supervise Programme is run over four weeks, the coaching is an ongoing process.”
He notes that behaviour is not always changed overnight, and sometimes requires an extended period of corrective and developmental coaching. The coaches participating in the scheme are well qualified and highly experienced at mine overseer level, and are licenced to supervise trainers. The process of coaching reinforces key areas of supervisor responsibility such as leadership as well as risk management in the fields of safety, health and environment (SHE).
“It often takes time to secure the application of soft skills in the workplace,” he says. “The learning journey is intended to progress our supervisors from compliance to resilience, to support our corporate vision as a leading mining engineering contractor.”
The coaching is currently focused on supervisors in Murray & Roberts Cementation, but can be offered to external clients who are interested in taking a similar approach in their skills development practices. The Licence to Supervise Programme has been initiated by and applied within Murray & Roberts Cementation, but will be rolled out across the group’s other platforms where required. There are 800 to 1000 supervisors working in the business at any one time, he says, highlighting their key role as facilitators of safety and productivity.
“Leaders need to understand that they influence the behaviour of those reporting to them,” says Pretorius. “By instilling a positive approach to safe production – among operators and other staff – supervisors are critical to successful projects; our coaching will further enhance their development and performance.”