The mining industry has been a significant driver of economic growth and development for centuries, providing vital resources for the global economy.
However, it has also been characterized by a critical gender imbalance, with men traditionally dominating the workforce.
Calls have been made in recent years for the recognition of the importance of gender diversity in the sector and the potential for women to make valuable contributions to the industry.
Mining giant AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine, through its graduate trainee program, a mentorship program that provides opportunities for graduate students to undergo training at the mining firm, has inducted 25 people into the program, of whom 50% were females.
Stressing the importance of giving equal representation to women in the program, Adinorta Nti-Yeboah, Human Resources Manager at AngloGold Ashanti, who spoke at a graduation and induction ceremony in Obuasi, said it has been a deliberate policy of AngloGold Ashanti to give more women the opportunity to work in the mine.
She said, “It is instructive to note that in the mining sector, female representation is less than 13%. However, AngloGold Ashanti wants to change this narrative by giving opportunities to more women to contribute to the mining industry.”
The ceremony also saw nine (9) young graduates who had successfully gone through a full year of training graduate.
The Human Resources Manager said that as a company, they were excited about how the graduate trainee program was grooming the beneficiaries into promising professionals with huge prospects in the mining sector.
She said the program remains one of the flagship programs of AngloGold Ashanti, intended to build the capacity of newly graduated students from the various universities in the country.
Ms. Nti-Yeboah again stressed that after a rigorous recruitment exercise, the selected ones are taken through various forms of training, which includes on-the-job training, leadership training, and ensuring that they are equipped with the skills to be successful in the mining industry.
“As part of the program, the trainees are tasked to undertake initiatives that seek to provide business solutions, and ensure improvement in cost efficiency, safety, and operational efficiencies.”
Calls for companies to roll out internship programs
The HR professional advocated for companies, especially those in the extractive industry, to roll out more internship programs to offer hands-on experience to students. She intimated that it was through that that the gap between academia and industry can be bridged.
Speaking about the impact of the training program, a graduate of the program who has secured a permanent job with AngloGold Ashanti, Hajiah Hammidu, commended the company for the program. Sharing her experience, she said the training equipped her with the on-the-field experience she needed to build a successful career in the mining sector.
She said the training boosted her confidence level as a female and inculcated into her the benefit of teamwork.
She asked the newly admitted trainees to take the training seriously since the experience gained will position them to get a job in the mining sector.
Nana Adom Frimpong, the overall best graduate trainee, attributed his success to a prolonged period of hard work and determination. He lauded AngloGold Ashanti for the training program, which he described as very impactful.
He said, “Hands-on experience is essential for graduates by putting them in a pole position to land a job.”
He recommended that for graduates to make an impact on the job market, it was incumbent on them to have practical experience to complement what they have been taught in school.
Master Frimpong again appealed to stakeholders in the educational sector to also focus on skills development, which he said is needed in the job market.