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Proskills embarks on major consultation on extractive and mineral processing skills

Sector Skills Council Proskills has embarked on a UK-wide consultation with employers that will shape the future of skills provision and funding for the extractive and mineral processing industry. The information gathered during this consultation process will form the basis of the Sector Skills Agreement (SSA), the fundamental collaborative action plan between the three key players: employers, government and the education sector, which will determine the way skills are delivered and developed for the sector.

Proskills’ chief executive officer, Terry Watts, commented: ‘Appropriate training provision is vital if the UK’s extractive and mineral processing industry is to thrive and survive in today’s fiercely competitive global market. This major consultation is not a vendor-led initiative to promote training for its own sake, nor is it a single-issue initiative to address a specific problems, such as encouraging more young people into the extractive and mineral processing industry – although that is of course a worthy aim.

‘The objective of the SSA is to generate measurable improvements in productivity by developing and maintaining skills in this key sector of the economy. However, for the initiative to succeed it requires support from everyone involved, particularly employers, managers and professionals who really understand the needs of the extractive and mineral processing industry.’

The initial stages of the SSA process, which include the assessment of current and future skill needs, together with the assessment of current training provision and an analysis of present gaps and weaknesses, are being undertaken by an external consultancy. Focus groups and workshops addressing specific industry groups will develop a range of possible future scenarios and elicit key future issues and drivers from business leaders. Critical areas will be identified and a report on strategic priorities will be delivered by the end of October 2006.

It is anticipated that the entire five-stage SSA process will be completed by September 2007.

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