The training landscape in South Africa is undergoing veritable metamorphoses as this report is compiled. The Skills Development Bill and its subsequent influence on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the founding of the Mine Qualifications Authority (MQA) has brought a completely new perspective to most training management efforts undertaken by the mining industry. This outcomes based focus has the effect that all of the existing training material has to be reviewed, and re- purposed into modules that focus on definable outcomes. Most of the respondents to our questionnaire commented that this is a time consuming and enormous undertaking.
The MQA specification of Unit Standards will deal with the outcomes which workers must attain to be declared competent, in order to perform a certain task or procedure in the process of mining, it will not deal with the methods employed to attain that competence. The sister project to this project (GAP609B), GAP609A is focussed on this "outcomes based specification for strata control risks" goal.
Even amongst all this change in the outcomes based specification of training curriculum, the researcher has found some organisations that are actively seeking for better methods of delivery, and assessment of training efforts based on the new content structure defined by the MQA. This is a very encouraging sign, for one could expect that such a wide ranging transformation of curriculum could easily engage all the available resources of an organisation, especially subjected to such unrelenting pressures as experienced in the mining industry.
There is a wide spectrum of discovery represented in this report. It ranges from a traditional training approach, with a strong programmed instruction and evaluation structure, to a very dynamic process driven, systems view, employed by training process designers. Some training efforts are clearly not about training people, but rather finding ways to help them learn effectively and perform competently. In the area of safety, the competent performance of individuals, which is the desired outcome of all these efforts will save lives.
Unique solutions like Industrial Theatre and Performance Support Efforts in the work area are clear indications of lateral solutions found to a very challenging problem. Another interesting trend is the recent movement of training efforts to the context of work underground. Helping people be competent in very difficult circumstances is a feat greater than most realise.
There is strong theoretical evidence that a systems approach to learning support (training) has great value. Some of the respondents in the mining and industrial training community have a very clear vision of this approach, and are actively striving to change their current reality to an integrated, system focussed on the quality of human performance. This desired performance in the area of underground safety should impact on safety records in the medium to long term.
Prof. Mbigi and Dr. Mandela not only see the systems picture clearly, but also relate it to indigenous traditions and proven learning systems, which have survived culturally. This is an avenue which combined with the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model described by Sue Berryman are worthy of detailed exploration. (Appendix A.4 and A.8)
Findings are derived from analysis of the questionnaire assessment (section 4.5) and the study of the literature survey (section 3) these are categorised as, new guiding ideas, innovations in infrastructure, theories, methods, tools.