Newmont Ghana Gold Limited has trained 19 young people from communities in its operational area in Ahafo in the Brong Ahafo Region and inducted 28 others into its apprenticeship programme estimated to cost the miners close to $530,000.
At a ceremony held at its mining site at Ntotroso, near Kenyanse Thursday, Nick Cotts, Regional Vice President of Newmont Ghana, mentioned that the company faced a very big challenge and commitment in sourcing technically competent and skilled individuals from the local communities since it is the first large scale mining operation in the area, and observed that the apprenticeship programme would address the situation.
"The apprenticeship programme has been designed and executed specifically to meet this challenge and to encourage and assist the youth of the Ahafo area to learn specific employable skills needed in the mining business as well as other related fields,' he explained.
According to Nick Cotts, human resource development had been identified as a number one priority by the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum, a corporate social responsibility agreement signed with local communities five months ago.
He added that the company was very much focused on creating sustainable relationships with their local communities to promote and realize enhanced socio-economic well-being, improved health, education and training opportunities of the people.
Case DeBruijn, Manager in-charge of Learning and Development of the Ahafo Mine, said Newmont Ghana recognises that adequate staffing will continue to be a problem until a pipeline that will help supply the necessary Mine Maintenance skills is created, hence the development of a new apprenticeship programme which, he noted, serves as a means to deal with gaps in their maintenance power needs.
This, he explained, would also transfer skills and thereby promote local hiring which forms part of their social responsibility commitment.
He disclosed that aside the 19 graduands who had successfully undergone the three-year fixed plant mechanical and electrical apprenticeship, and the 28 matriculants inducted to undergo a four-year intensive training in mine maintenance apprenticeship programme, 150 others had already gone through a rigorous assessment and training programme and had since been employed by the company.
The District Chief Executive for Asutifi, Opoku Peprah, commended Newmont Ghana for the heavy investment it was making in the people of the area.
He explained that the company's gesture was in line with the government"s policy of developing and building the capacity of the youth in the country through the National Youth Employment Programme.
The DCE was however, not happy about the non-selection of woman to benefit from the programme, describing it as 'very, very unfortunate.'
He therefore appealed to management to involve women in the next batch of trainees to help build their capacities and skills.