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The Mining Qualifications Authoritiy covers mining, manufacture of cement and manufacture of jewellery.The sector has about 400 000 employees, of whom half are employed in gold mining, 23% in the mining of the platinum group metals (PGMs), 12% in coal mining and 9% in other mining.

The diamond mines employ only 4% of the workers in the sector and jewellery manufacturing only 2%.

Most formal mining companies are large, and fewer than 4% of all mineworkers work in companies with less than 200 workers. However, the majority of all diamond mines and jewellery manufacturing operations are SMMEs.

In addition, informal (and often illegal) mining activities provide employment to a large number of people.

The North West Province, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free Sate account for most of the mineral production in the country.

If you're thinking of applying for a learnership through your company and the MQA, you can pursue qualifications such as Diamond Processing, Diesel Mechanics, Eletrical Maintenance, Fitting and Turning, Jewellery Manufacture, Boilermaking, Welding and Engineering.

The specifications for a qualification such as a Diesel Mechanic for Surface Diamonds are as follows:

"This qualification is intended for application in the mining industry, and has a primary operational application in the engineering field.

"Recipients of the qualification are able to conduct the essential operations associated with engineering maintenance, repairs, manufacturing and troubleshooting in any one of the diesel mechanic (surface diamonds) specialisation area.

"The qualification is designed to be flexible and accessible so that people are able to demonstrate the competencies required to work safely in mines in general, and efficiently and safely in any one of the specialization areas.

"People credited with the qualification are able to: Identify and use engineering tools and equipment. Troubleshoot on engineering plant and equipment. Maintain engineering equipment. Install engineering equipment. Repair engineering equipment. Manufacture engineering components. Understand environmental issues. Understand engineering processes. Communicate in an engineering environment." - From the Pacecareers website.

According to an MQA publication, a learnership in the mining industry is:
At least 40% comprised of workplace learning;
• Must have a structured institutional learning component
• Have available accredited training providers for the institutional component of the Learnership; and
• Proof that it is an efficient and effective method for both learner and employer to achieve the qualification through a Learnership

In this way, the MQA's objective to source workplaces with at least 2500 employed and 2500 unemployed learners on core Learnerships for the mining and minerals sector by 31st March 2010, is achieved.

For more information, visit the Mining Qualifications Authority's (MQA's) website, or the Chamber of Mines of South Africa's website.

How to apply for learning opportunities through the SETAs?

Obtain information about the learnerships or appreticeships that are available to you from:

  • 1. SETAs and Department of Labour Centres.

  • 2.The Learnership Support Service - contact them on 012 309 4808.

  • 3. The Department of Labour's website.

  • 4. Visit the Department of Labour to ask about available learnership opportunities.

  • 5. If you see an advertisement for an application to a learnership, for instance in a newspaper or on The Careers Portal, submit your application to the relevant person/contact details indicated in the advertisement.

  • 6. You must enter into a formal agreement with a provider, and sign the learnership agreement.

  • 7. Contact the NQF and Career Advice Services via SMS on 072 204 5056 or send a 'Call Me Back' to be contacted by one of their Advisors.

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