The Managing Director of Botswana Ash (BOTASH) Montwedi Mphathi has expressed concern over shortage of skilled workforce in the country’s mining industry, particularly the artisans saying that the challenge affects production.
The former BCL boss told Sunday Standard on the sidelines of the Botswana Ash five million fatality free shifts celebration last week, he said that currently the mines have acute shortages of qualified staff such as engineers and technicians.
“We seriously need to train more artisans so that we can have a big pool of skilled workforce to recruit from. A lot of mines are mushrooming and they are competing for a limited number of the trained workforce. The shortage of trained workforce does affect our production,” he said.
Mphathi also raised concern over new graduates from institutions saying that they have a habit of refusing training on the basis that they are well educated and know everything.
“We also have a challenge with fresh graduates from institutions because they have a habit of refusing training with an ego that they know everything. I believe that through training, graduates could develop themselves and remain relevant in the job markets. Training is self development,” he said.
Mphathi also lamented on the local education system saying that it produces poorly trained graduates who are not ready for the job markets.To address the problem, Mphathi said that the government should collaborate with the private sector and other stakeholders to determine what kind of skills are in demand.
“It is disappointing to note that some of the graduates produced by our local institutions are poorly trained. We are forced tore- train them which also becomes costly for the mines. The government should also work closely with the private sector, particularly the mines to determine which skills are highly in demand,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM), Charles Siwawa also told the Sunday Standard in an interview that shortage of artisans remains a huge challenge for them.
“Shortage of skilled workforce is a serious issue for the mines and it does affect production. We need to have a well trained workforce,” he said.
He however said that they are on the process of signing a memorandum of agreement with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development so that they can utilise some of the vocational training institutions to train their own workforce.
He said that BCM has been offered space at the Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education and the Gaborone Technical Education where they will train some of their artisans.
“We feel that that FCTVE is underutilised therefore we are taking advantage of that. We will soon be signing a memorandum of agreement with the minister of education and skills development to utilise the institutions for training,” he said.