Mind the Skills Gap: The Future of Work and Learning in Mining


Don Duval, NORCAT

Over the past 10 years, the global mining industry has continued to build momentum and prepare itself for what appears to be a remarkable transformation. Executives are facing unprecedented pressure to find sustainable and creative methods to drive shareholder value, enhance productivity, and improve the safety of the workforce.  It is clear that going forward, a career in the mining industry is going to look very different than it does today. In 2016 the Mining Industry Human Resources Council reported that the Canadian mining industry continues to become less labour intensive as new technologies, both in hardware and software, automate and streamline manual and inefficient processes. Complementing this insight, a 2017 industry report from Deloitte cited that nearly 70% of global mining companies are looking at remote operating and monitoring centers while another 30% of global mining companies are investing in robotics / automation technologies. These large-scale investments in robotics, automation, and ultimately the creation of “the digital mine” indicate that the industry is poised to experience a paradigm shift like no other. With that, this presentation will focus on the following: The need and importance for mining companies to prepare existing and future workers with the unique skills and confidence to implement, operate, and manage emerging technologies that are transforming the industry. Recognition that for mining companies to retain top talent and attract the next generation of young and tech-savvy employees they must understand that younger workers have different learning styles and work expectations than previous generations. While instructor-led practical, experiential hands-on, and classroom-based training will always be necessary in some form – new technologies, new training methods, and integrated learning programs need to facilitate “optionality” to match learners with their most effective means of learning.
Mots Clés: training, development, education, future of work and learning, technology, careers in mining,