Empowering prosperity - social labour planning for inclusive workforce development

14th June 2024


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By Jacques Farmer, Managing Director at PRISMA Training

For mining companies, Social Labour Planning (SLP) should be more than a tick-box exercise when applying for a mining licence. If approached strategically, it is a powerful tool for fostering economic prosperity by building a skilled and diverse workforce. Through inclusive implementation, social labour planning can transform communities, bridge skills gaps, and create a mutually beneficial synergy for mining businesses and community residents.

Acknowledging the importance of social labour planning
Imagine a sustainable economy where everyone has the opportunity to contribute and support themselves. This is the vision behind social labour planning, a strategic approach that aims to tackle social and economic challenges while nurturing a skilled workforce. 

In growing economies like South Africa, where unemployment and poverty are high, social labour planning cannot be overlooked. It fosters job creation through various initiatives, such as small business development and new investment attraction. It contributes to the reduction of inequality, helping to equip community residents with the skills needed to compete for better jobs and improve their livelihoods. When communities benefit from mining operations, social tensions ease, and a sense of shared prosperity emerges.

Getting social labour planning right from the outset
The success of social labour planning hinges on a deep understanding of community and economic needs. This means that a well-designed social labour plan must start with a needs assessment - a comprehensive analysis must be conducted to identify skills gaps, job opportunities, and social and economic challenges to be addressed within the community. 

Access to education, training, and lifelong learning opportunities to build a skilled workforce must be prioritised, and all stakeholders, including government, businesses, labour unions, and the community must come together to shape the plan. This collaboration is the only way to ensure a well-rounded approach that addresses diverse needs.

Promoting economic opportunities beyond job creation
A well-designed social labour plan must think deeper than job creation through mining operations.  To maximise its impact, it should also give effect to skills development on a larger scale through human capital development, identifying the training required to equip community members with the skills to meet mining requirements, while stimulating local economic opportunity. 

Social labour plans can empower communities by supporting local entrepreneurs with training and resources to establish and grow their businesses. Additionally, by creating a skilled workforce and fostering a stable environment, this can attract new businesses, which in turn creates even more employment opportunities. In this way, social labour planning is a powerful tool that empowers individuals to become active participants in their local economies.

Keeping social labour planning on track  
Given that the validity of a mining licence can depend on the performance of the social labour plan, regular monitoring and evaluation are essential to ensure it delivers on its promises. This involves tracking progress, identifying challenges, and making adjustments as needed. Training providers who specialise in social labour planning can play a critical role in ensuring success by giving human capital development the attention it deserves. They act as facilitators, bridging the gap between communities, mining houses, and government stakeholders. 

Their expertise in needs assessment, community engagement, training program development, and implementation is vital for crafting effective plans that deliver positive outcomes for all parties involved. Furthermore, their ability to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and generate transparent reports is essential for ensuring accountability and demonstrating the positive impact of social labour planning on communities and the economy, which is an essential component of compliance for mining organisations. 

A strategic investment in shared prosperity
In this way, social labour planning should be undertaken by mining organisations as a strategic intervention, not just for workforce development, but for fostering inclusive growth and shared prosperity within the communities surrounding their operations.  However, an effective social labour plan requires a deep understanding of the community it serves, focusing on its needs, skills gaps, and job opportunities. It demands inclusivity and participation from all stakeholders to a plan that addresses everyone's needs and fosters a sense of ownership, through actively promoting job creation through diverse avenues.  By empowering communities, businesses, and the workforce, social labour planning paves the way for a more prosperous and equitable future, one that ensures the benefits of development are shared by all.



Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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