Industry Leaders

Executive President, Chilean Mining Council Executive President, Chilean Mining Council

Joaquín Villarino

The Executive President of the Chilean Mining Council participated in the 2nd International Seminar on Human Resources Management in Mining, Hrmining 2012, where he gave a talk on the challenges facing the mining industry which are crucial to remaining globally competitive. Villarino discussed the initiatives the Mining Council has taken to help reduce the gap in human capital. For example, they created the Mining Skills Council, which among other things informs the academic world of the industry’s current and future requirements for technicians and professionals. These needs include both quality and training, as the goal of the Skills Council is to improve communication and prevent the lack of qualified workers in the area.

7 November 2012

Would you say that the mining industry was not prepared enough to meet the demand of human capital needed?

I believe that the mining industry has been prepared. The key is to align the training of future workers with industry requirements, for which we first need to provide exact information about what these requirements actually are. In this sense, the mining industry has been prepared. Years ago, for example, a study was commissioned by Fundación Chile. The results have allowed us to gauge both in the number of workers needed as well as with what specific technical or professional profiles. In addition, from this information we have begun to evaluate the best alternatives to favour the formation of this human capital. In this context, the Mining Council company partners created the Mining Skills Council.

The other important point is that we manage to convey the characteristics and work opportunities offered in the mining industry. The large mining companies as well as the Mining Council have been working towards this goal and will continue to do so. Certainly the challenge remains, but we are advancing thanks to the work we have done in the past few years.

There is a lot of talk that there is no alignment between what is taught in training centres and what the industry demands. How do you confront this?

There is a problem, but it becomes an opportunity as we find that according to the requirements of modern mining we did not have the adequate training. To change this we need to provide information to training centers, for which we have taken the appropriate measures.

Has the academic field had a good response to the needs that have arisen in the mining industry?

I think they are adapting. They have heard our demands for one year, approached the Mining Council and are asking for these guidelines that will ultimately emanate from the work we are doing with Fundación Chile. They are reacting very well and that was the logic: that we do not dedicate ourselves to doing the training, but rather we provide information to those who do educate and train. We relay real information from the industry itself, understanding that conforming to what the industry needs promotes the employability of graduates from training centres.

Another problem is that often mining is not an attractive industry for a new professional. What should companies do to improve this?

I think there are three words: communicate, communicate and communicate. What is needed here is to report on the real, modern mining industry; what does working in the mining industry consist of and what are the benefits of being there. I think this is what we need to convey: showing how good it is to work in the mining industry and that great opportunities exist. We are already doing this but it needs to be done with more intensity.

Interview date: 7 November 2012