In assessing applied competencies in terms of training and working on mining machinery, there must be a balance between theoretical, practical and workplace competences that are suited to a specific outcome or job, says mining transport products and services supplier A & R Engineering business development manager Francois Joubert.
This ensures that artisans have a good understanding and the required competence to perform in the workplace, but most importantly it also ensures learning is fit for purpose.
Joubert highlights the importance of technical training and maintaining a skills pool because of the technical nature of A & R Engineering’s products.
Therefore, the company, through its accredited training centre focuses on maintaining the balance in the integration of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and applications that artisans are able to attain through its training programmes.
A & R Engineering is accredited for the National Certificate: Electro-Mechanics National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) 2, 3 and 4. The company has also received accreditation for the National Certificate: Millwright NQF3 to train millwrights.
Established in 2007, the A & R Engineering training centre, based in Welkom, in the Free State, focuses on training multiskilled artisans, and combines electronic, electrical and mechanical skills to be applied in a horizontal transport management environment.
The training centre – awarded full accreditation with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) since 2011 – maintains an average of 45 artisans, and produces about ten graduates a year. “We have a carefully designed an exit strategy for each artisan that may range from continuing work in the factory, on-the-job support or even a career in training.”
A & R Engineering also uses the accreditation to capacitate clients’ employees, and by unlocking the potential of the company’s equipment applied at clients’ operations.
As training often requires time off from work, A & R Engineering often performs on-site and on-the-job training for artisans when they implement new A & R Engineering technologies. This approach allows for clients to ease the impact on production, he explains.
“We offer training to clients who buy our equipment, as the original-equipment manufacturer often forms part of their change management process.”
Meanwhile, technical or maintenance training is specialised training offered to mine artisans or maintenance personnel.
Operators working with locomotives or trackless mobile machinery, for example, require the most training, because when installing A & R Engineering equipment on a locomotive or trackless mobile machinery, the equipment completely changes the way the operator and artisans in the section need to work, Joubert highlights.
He notes that, as integration with information technology networks and data management has also become key topics of discussion, A & R Engineering aims to offer information technology networks and data management training as a specialisation to postgraduate artisans that offer support as technicians to the company.
He emphasises that the contribution made by its artisans and the skills they provide for the industry and to the company motivates A & R Engineering to keep going in its training and education efforts and to continue operating as a MQA-accredited training centre.
Despite the challenge of keeping the training centre’s practical facilities up to date, Joubert notes that “by combining the South African Qualifications Authority requirement with the company’s requirement and using A & R Engineering’s national infrastructure, we are able to bring training and the workplace closer together”.