Consolidation of efforts key to increasing youth participation in mining

JOHANNESBURG ( – South Africa’s mining sector needs to consolidate its current youth development initiatives to ensure meaningful upliftment of the country’s youth, says Chamber of Mines (CoM) of South Africa skills development head Mustak Ally.

The pooling of resources will provide a more focused and centralised platform for youth development in the local mining industry, but this must be done in conjunction with mining houses, government and organised labour, he states.

Ally points out that the Skills Development Act, the Skills Levy Act and the National Skills Development Strategy, along with the yearly performance plans and strategies of the respective sector education and training authorities (Setas), are important mechanisms for skills advancement.

The Seta responsible for mining education is the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), with members of the CoM serving on its board. Consequently, chamber members have a say in the strategy that the MQA implements, he adds.

Much of the MQA’s focus is on education, training and development, with special emphasis on youth development. “Examples of this include the way the MQA, along with mining companies, funds students enrolled at technical and vocational colleges and universities,” Ally states.

He points out that, over the past five years, about 18 000 students have been supported through the MQA and mining companies’ education and training initiatives to acquire much-needed mining skills.

Despite the “bleak” short- to medium- term prospects for the South African economy, Ally says, 24 000 students will receive assistance to develop themselves in the local mining sector through bursaries and internship programmes over the next five years.

Further, Ally notes that, while there are no specific laws in South Africa regarding the development of youth in mining, there are broad generic policies focused on the development of youth in business, such as the Youth…

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