SkillsDMC Operations Manager Dorothy Rao has urged the resources sector to use this time of economic slowdown to strengthen and develop its workforce for future.
Beyond the immediate doom and gloom, current economic conditions present a positive opportunity for the mining industry, Rao told MINING DAILY.
“Despite the fact that some organisations have been forced to review their workforce for the immediate future, issues such as the ageing workforce are not going away,” she said.
“The coal industry alone has approximately 4% of employees nearing retirement; that is a lot of skills and knowledge to replace.”
After suffering from widespread skills gaps during years of growth, this slowdown gives organisations an opportunity to think long-term, and begin building the industry’s skills pool to prepare for the next market upturn, according to Rao.
“Now, more than ever, enterprises need to focus on planning and developing their future workforce to improve productivity, efficiency and enhance overall business performance.
“Organisations, Industry Skills Councils, Governments and registered training organisations all play an important role in building the industry’s workforce to be productive and sustainable.
“Assessing the current industry skills pool, and what is required for the future, will pinpoint our training needs. A clear picture of the current workforce and skills gaps will ensure the delivery of government funded training places is prioritised to the most critical areas.”
According to Rao, the industry must try to avoid short-term thinking and instead establish a structure which allows industry to increase or decrease skills supply directly related to the business and economic environment.