IN an effort to meet the demand for skilled workers in the mining sector, engineering and project delivery firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has instigated a number of innovative solutions.
These include establishing a skills training centre, and programs for Indigenous Australians, graduates and future leaders within the company.
In an industry first, SKM is due to open a dedicated Safety Learning Centre at Perth Domestic Airport, to provide a “one stop shop” for safety and induction training services to a range of mining and industry clients.
The centre will coordinate the provision of client-tailored, nationally-accredited induction, supervisor leadership, health and safety and skills competency programs required for deployment to site.
SKM General Manager, Mining and Metals, Mark Read, said the centre would fill a gap in the provision of comprehensive safety and induction training, utilising SKM’s innovative Visual Safety Methodology, which is a specialist knowledge sharing process, with participants using visualisation to prepare solutions while working interactively in groups.
“This is a first for SKM and the industry and will serve as a model for future centres which we may look at rolling out globally,” he said.
Already, mining and civil contracting service provider NRW Holdings Ltd has signed up for a suite of SKM’s safety and competency based workforce training, while companies including BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Rio Tinto and Chevron have expressed an interest in utilising the facility.
SKM is also making a concerted effort to enhance the skills of Indigenous Australians, through its Indigenous Employment Program, which includes cadetships for young people.
Currently, SKM employs ten Indigenous cadets of which three are cadet engineers, offering training, workplace rotations, mentoring and financial incentives, while the cadets undertake undergraduate studies.
Upon successful completion of the program, cadets have the opportunity to enter the SKM Graduate Development Program.
“We see it as our duty as a major employer and global company, to support initiatives for Indigenous economic development, education, social and heritage rights and mutually beneficial outcomes for Indigenous peoples, ourselves and our clients,” Read said.
SKM’s Indigenous Program is managed by Jack Pearson, cousin of high profile Indigenous campaigner Noel Pearson.
The SKM Graduate Program is open to graduates from many engineering disciplines, and provides support and encouragement for young graduates to reach their full potential within SKM.
But the skills development doesn’t stop there.
SKM has also instigated a Future Leaders Program which identifies and supports potential leaders within the company to learn new skills to support them on their journey to leadership within the company.
“In this way, we are ensuring we develop the skills of our people from the moment they start working with SKM, through their journey of growth and leadership with the company,” Read said.
“This not only benefits us, but also enhances our service delivery to clients.”
General Manager – Mining and Metals