Working in a mine involves operating and maintaining heavy industrial equipment and conducting repairs as needed. Tasks may include laying tracking and installing casings or other infrastructure needed to prevent cave-ins. Miners also need to determine where holes should be drilled and what cuts are to be made. All of this involves using specialised equipment, and while training is provided to address these issues, it often demands of the miners an aptitude for technical work and thinking.

Miners are generally not your conventional learners best suited for classroom settings. The sheer nature of the work – very physical, hands-on, and often dangerous – means that most miners learn on the job in a master-apprenticeship-type setting. But, both legally and to ensure their safety, miners need to meet strict safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) training requirements. The Mining Qualifications Authority’s (MQA) Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) who is responsible for the administration of skills development programmes requires adherence to statutory steps designed to ensure that training is compliant.

Adding to this conundrum, mining companies have to continually strive to be more productive and technically proficient. Globally there’s been a slowdown in demand, and commodity prices have weakened along with mining profits. Especially in a volatile economy like South Africa – which recorded a 51% drop for the second quarter of 2020 – mining executives are always seeking ways of increasing output while cutting costs.

This is where eLearning comes into its own.

New Leaf Technologies has been working with some of the largest mines in South Africa since 2015. The company’s advanced eLearning platforms give miners flexibility and mobility when it comes to their training needs, enabling them to access learning content from any device, anywhere and at any time.

Vitally, cost savings have been a major benefit for mining companies embarking on the eLearning route, as it does away with having to fly in, accommodate and pay a daily rate for training facilitators, eliminates the need for other non-essential training personnel, and reduces the amount of off-the-job time employees need for training.

For companies with several operations scattered around the country (or the continent, or even the world), ongoing consistency is ensured, with entire workforces trained using the same content at the same level. The training content, which can be designed and sent out through a central point, is entertaining and captivating, which leaves a memorable impression on the employee. And New Leaf Technologies’ eLearning offerings have also helped mining companies to streamline their types of training and address skills gaps: eLearning is a great way of tracking employee training progress, as well as their experiences of what’s been taught, which in turn means that gaps can be quickly and efficiently addressed.

New Leaf Technologies is owned and run by father and son, Paul and Mike Hanly, whose day-to-day personal management enables more flexible in both pricing and structure of learning content. For the Hanlys, it’s important to build a long-term relationship with a mining client, which sometimes means starting off on a smaller budget and building capacity over time.

New Leaf Technologies lead mining eLearning product is aNewSpring Learner Management System (LMS), a high-end learning experience accessible anywhere on any device with internet connectively, with the additional option of fixed installation at a client’s premises.