In a quantum leap for mine training in the underground mining sector, the Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy (MRTA) is strategically positioning itself to take its world class learning systems to customers on their own sites.
This innovative move, according to Murray & Roberts Cementation education, training and development (ETD) executive Tony Pretorius, incorporates the use of remote e-learning solutions coupled to Dover Assessment for psychomotor skills, VR Simulation, mass assessment tools and classroom response systems – or ‘clickers’.
“It is an exciting step beyond the MRTA’s industry-leading facilities at Bentley Park near Carletonville, and opens doors for companies to generate and upgrade skills even during the Covid-19 pandemic”, Pretorius says.
“Making use of the latest technologies – such as interactive touchscreens – we can now offer two-dimensional and three-dimensional training interventions,” he says. “This can be deployed with virtual reality (VR) training modules, including the use of VR simulators that we are developing with our strategic technology partner, Simulated Training Solutions (STS).”
Among the high-tech advances being driven by the academy is a portable VR drill rig. The portfolio of ground-breaking training tools will be easily transported in a purpose-designed trailer to sites convenient to the customer – even on mines themselves.
Applying the tools, he says, will be members of MRTA’s experienced team of trainers, accredited by the Mining Qualifications Authority.
“This gives even remote mining sites the chance to enhance skill levels, productivity and safety,” he says. He points to the ongoing difficulty that companies face in conducting group activities under Covid‑19 protocols, and particularly in moving personnel across borders.
In addition to these regulatory restraints, this new training infrastructure could also reduce the cost of having staff attend off-site training for extended periods – where costs are raised by travel and accommodation.
“We believe that our state-of-the-art educational innovations can give remote mines unprecedented access to valuable skills transfer with real bottom-line benefits to be gained,” he says.
Looking beyond mining operations themselves, Pretorius also highlights plans to reach out to communities needing skills development to combat unemployment. This socially responsible approach to training is already embraced at the MRTA facilities, but could in future be more widely available through this injection of technology.
The academy’s new age of training systems will also be rolled out within the projects of Murray & Roberts Cementation itself, further enhancing the company’s reputation for performance excellence and safety.
“This new technology definitely raises the level to which we can take industry skills, and we anticipate an enthusiastic response from both internal and external clients,” says Pretorius. “We believe strongly that this is the future of training – where we leverage digital technologies like VR to help take mining expertise into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”