The mining industry provides professional development opportunities for non-miners


It is the end of the academic year and millions of people around the world will say with justifiable pride, that they are now qualified in their subject or profession. A word to the wise: savour the moment. The truth is that being awarded the certificate that congratulates you on the successful completion of your accountancy, legal, Human Resources (HR), teachers, media, procurement etc training is only the first step in the lifelong process of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that will ensure you gain the knowledge and experience to become truly proficient at what you do.

CPD can come in a range of guises - formal courses, on-line learning, postgraduate degrees, day-long seminars, formal or informal mentoring- to name a few. Its focus can be on acquiring practical or soft skills, on gaining additional professional knowledge or on broadening one’s understanding of relevant or related fields. It can be offered by individual training providers, academic institutions, employers or professional bodies.

In Sierra Leone, two local companies - Elixir Marketing and Media (EMM) and JobSearch - recognised that there was a dearth of opportunities in-country for non-mining professionals who work with or for the mining sector to expand their knowledge about the mining industry. Working alongside industry experts, the National Minerals Agency (NMA) and mining companies – London Mining and Sierra Rutile, they have put together ‘An Introduction to Mining in Sierra Leone’ - a day-long seminar which is being held on 24 June 2014 at the Bintumani Conference Hall, Freetown.

Memuna Forna of EMM explains the rationale behind the initiative. “Knowledge, like most things, has an expiry date and CPD or the need for professional people to update their skills and acquire knowledge relevant to their field of work, is essential to their ability to do their job. The mining industry in Sierra Leone is a major consumer of the skills of non-mining professionals – HR, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), accountancy and legal to name a few. Professionals in these fields can deliver better quality work if they better understand the industry they work with.”

JobSearch founder and partner, Edleen B. Elba highlights the importance placed on CPD by professional bodies worldwide: “Most internationally recognised professional bodies now require their members to undertake ongoing learning activities as a condition of continuing membership. Without it the skills and knowledge that people apply to their work gradually become out of date. No academic institution, no matter how venerable, can equip their graduates with all the learning they need to be really effective in their job. What they do is provide their students with the twin foundations of subject knowledge and scholarship, to build upon.”

‘An Introduction to Mining in Sierra Leone’ features an outstanding line-up of speakers covering a range of topics such as how the mining sector works, how it is financed and regulated, and why it plays a central role in the country’s Agenda for Prosperity and the recently introduced Local Content Policy.

With a view to the CPD of the media profession, London Mining and Sierra Rutile are paying for 30 Sierra Leonean journalists to attend. Osman Lahai, London Mining’s Head of Communications & Media Relations, says: “Our goal is to introduce journalists who cover Sierra Leone’s extractive industry to the critical issues surrounding the extraction and utilisation of the country’s mineral resources. Journalists have a crucial role to play in public debate on this issue and we hope that enhancing their knowledge of the subject will help them fulfil that role.”

Abdul Koroma, Sierra Rutile’s Head of Corporate Affairs says: “The mining industry in Sierra Leone is an important subject for journalists in Sierra Leone. Revenue from mining contributes substantially to our GDP and active and informed reporting by the media is vitally important. This training course is the first of a regular programme of training which we hope will facilitate the media’s work in this area.

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