Innovative Mining Community Development Initiative Launched in Kuruman

EduPower and Assmang Black Rock Mine Operations (BRMO) drive groundbreaking solution for Skills Development and Employment of local communities.

The future looks bright for 40 young adults living in Kuruman in the Northern Cape. These youngsters – all people with disabilities – have been selected for an innovative, forward-thinking learnership sponsored by Assmang Black Rock Mine Operations. Aimed at socio-economic upliftment in the region, each of these learners will start to build a sustainable career.

Sean Sharp, Executive Head of Sales at EduPower Skills Academy says the learnerships are part of a bespoke solution that has been developed by the Academy in partnership with Assmang Black Rock Mine Operations.

“We have created a solution for the mining sector that combines skills, enterprise, and socio-economic development. Using this model, Assmang Black Rock Mine can contribute to job creation and socio-economic advancement whilst also delivering on their mine Community Development,” he explains.

Meaningful Impact

Assmang Black Rock Mine Operations is a local mining and minerals company situated 80km North-West of Kuruman in the Northern Cape. This remote region faces many pressing socio-economic challenges including high unemployment, poverty and gangsterism.

“Assmang Black Rock Mine’s investment in Community Development goes beyond compliance. The company views social upliftment as a strategic priority but the solutions they have employed to support the community in the past have proved to be unsustainable,” says Sean. “When we first met with them, Assmang Black Rock Mine was, therefore, eager to implement a sustainable high-impact initiative that could deliver and drive meaningful socio-economic growth.”

The Solution

EduPower’s skills development model proved to be a perfect fit. The tried-and-tested system not only delivers 12-month learnerships but also serves to incubate small, independent businesses (SMEs) using Enterprise Development funding.

“Working with Assmang Black Rock Mine and the community, we’ve set up a small Call Centre in Kuruman town which also serves as our training facility,” Sean continues. “We’ve registered 40 learners who are already busy with their Contact Centre NQF Level 3 learnerships. Training is both classroom-based as well as online and of course, our workplace experience takes place in the Call Centre.”

Working an eight-hour day, five days a week, the practical experience that EduPower offers its learners is one of the Academy’s key differentiators. Candidates have the opportunity to work on live campaigns, not simulations, developing the learners’ skills and confidence for a real work environment.

“The learners in our Kuruman Academy are currently working on two live campaigns, an outbound data management campaign and a customer service inbound campaign. Over and above this work experience and the training, we also mentor our learners to develop their interpersonal and business skills, all of which ensures that when our learners graduate, they are job ready,” he adds.

Building a Business

Whilst it is running the learnerships, EduPower is also incubating an independent Call Centre. Working with an entrepreneur from the community and providing business support as well as assistance in sourcing campaigns, this business will employ the 40 learners when they graduate.

“Using this model, we can guarantee results for both the entrepreneur and the learners. When they graduate, the learners receive long-term employment while the business owner gains a skilled labour force that will help the business to scale and grow.”

Meeting Objectives

By deploying the EduPower model in Kuruman, Assmang Black Rock Mine is not only assisting with job creation, it is also delivering on its objective to make a positive contribution to economic development in the region, improving community resilience in a way that will be sustainable well into the future.

“EduPower’s model is a high-impact solution that is helping Assmang Black Rock Mine to provide measurable results and a significant return on its investment in skills development,” says Sean. “Based on the early results that we are seeing, there are exciting times ahead for the Kuruman community as our partnership with Assmang Black Rock Mine could provide many more opportunities for the young adults in the area,” he concludes.

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