There are many external challenges we face within mining, not only are we contending with the negative perceptions that come from the average Joe, but also enduring poor work environments and a reduced skilled workforce. On a recent episode of Full Production, I spoke with the director of Crownsmen Partners, and host of the Crownsmen Podcast, Jerrod Downey, and got some of his insights.
Change Perceptions With Informative Conversations
Jerrod understands that he has a level of responsibility when it comes to his own podcasts – it gives him and others a voice. When he comes across negative perceptions either within or against the mining industry, he knows he has the capability to set the record straight, and produce the facts from informed sources.
One of the controversial topics that often gets misinterpreted is the use of technology within the industry. “A lot of people don’t realise how much technology is going into the mines,” he says. “If you drive by a mine and see a big giant pit, I mean, then you go online and there’s stuff exploding,” you’re not going to be associating mines with safe, revolutionary, functional tech. Jerrod hopes that by speaking about the topic and having the experts produce the facts it will have a more positive outcome. “When people understand that, there’s going to be a lot less resistance.”
Where Is All The Skilled Labour Going?
The need for fresh, skilled labour seems to be a regular point of discussion here at Full Production. Automation still hasn’t taken over, so we definitely want those manual mechanics and electricians, but there seems to be a drought of interest from the next generation.
Many companies, particularly here in Australia, aren’t able to convey the career-building benefits that the mining world has to offer. I wanted to get Jerrod’s insight into how Canada compares.
In Canada, there’s a notable drop in the skilled workforce too. “Our labour force is ageing out,” he states, the older and wiser folk leave without the younger guys coming in to replace them. Huge companies such as Microsoft are also drawing swathes of people, with promises of high wages and a more comfortable lifestyle.
There needs to be more of a push into glamourizing skilled labour, but until that happens maybe we should be looking at the benefits of immigration and importing skilled labour to keep the industry afloat.
Good Leadership Leads to Good Work Environments
My relatability means that I’m able to acquire the best taskforce out there, but this isn’t always the case with other mining companies. Workers regularly skip from one place to the other when they’re unsatisfied, chasing the dollar rather than sticking with the place of work and losing any sense of loyalty. The leaders, from supervisor level upwards, need to create a productive environment.
As a business owner, I know how important it is to have a good working environment. It’s about implementing a support structure while having the confidence and emotional intelligence. “If you are the person that can create the environment, and bring the best out of people, you’re the person I’m looking at.” Avoid focusing on numbers, and spend more time on the people.
This industry is flourishing – we just need to get the right people into the right places, while getting the public and governmental bodies on board too.
To hear the full conversation for part two click here.
To hear the full conversation for part one click here.