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Management training a boon for big miners

A PUSH to give frontline mine managers some form of management qualification has provided a boost for the training industry and led to improvements in the operations of some of WA’s largest mines.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy is a keen supporter of the program and has been lobbying for the WA Government to legislate to make the need for such training mandatory for all mine managers.

However, the Government is yet to introduce such legislation.

Modal managing director Russell Rieck said the Frontline Management Initiative adopted by mining companies had been a boon for his training business.

Indeed, it has proved so successful that Modal is in the process of setting up an office in Queensland.

Mr Rieck said the threat of Government legislation had driven a lot of mining companies to get in early and give their man-agers some form of management qualification.

“Our growth has been based around a program called Front-line Management,” he said.

Mr Rieck said the program ran for 12 months, which had given the business a regular income stream that had helped fund its growth.

“The then Department of Minerals and Energy [now Department of Minerals and Petroleum Resources and soon to change again] threatened to legislate that all frontline mine managers should have some management qualification,” he said.

“The threat was enough to get people doing it.”

Mr Rieck said while Queensland did not have the same sort of legislative threat hanging over it, a number of the mining companies operating in WA had seen the benefit of the program and wanted to offer it to their Queensland staff.

“Our market is forcing the Queensland move on us,” he said.

Besides Modal, other training providers offering this sort of training for the mining industry include Excel, Tracmin and the Australian Institute of Management.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Tim Shanahan said the chamber advocated that all mining companies adopt the approach.

Indeed, the chamber recently completed a study of the effectiveness of the program. While the full results have not yet been made public it is understood that the program has produced some very positive results, right down to employee level, with workers reporting that their managers have improved and are doing things differently.

The need for frontline mine managers to receive management training came from inquiries into deaths at mines around the State indicating that managers lacked appropriate qualifications.

Under the Mining Act a mine manager has to receive a certificate of competency in Occupational Safety and Health. However, there is no need to renew that certificate so a mine manager could leave the industry for several years before returning and his certificate would still be current.

A spokesman for the Department of Minerals and Petroleum Resources said there was a proposal to advance legislation that required mine managers and supervisors to have “applicable” training as a condition of their employment.

“That is training in risk analysis, hazard identification and occupational health and safety,” he said.

“The department is still in discussions with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy as to how the legislation will be changed to include this proposal.” STRUCK GOLD: A push to give mine managers management qualifications has proved lucrative to the training industry.

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