First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has underscored the vital role skills training and knowledge transfer play in combating youth unemployment and driving sustainable development. Speaking ahead of World Youth Skills Day 2020 on July 15, FQM’s Kalumbila Minerals Public Relations Specialist Mirriam Harmon said the mining firm’s goal was to equip local youths with a range of skills that would enable them to work in other sectors aside from mining for the wider economy’s benefit.
“Development of the local economy in which we operate is a key priority. We remain committed to providing an array of opportunities to our young people ranging from scholarships at higher learning institutions to community skills training,” she said.
Ms Harmon explained that FQM had identified skills training as a key driver of long-term sustainable employment in the mining sector, adding that the country’s largest copper mine had put in place comprehensive skills development programs that were already helping to improve operations at its Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila and Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi.
“We constantly strive to attract and retain the best talent at every level because we believe that a company is only as strong as its people,” she noted.
“It is for this reason that we have continued to actively create a work environment that allows our young employees to realise their careers goals within the company.”
FQM employs over 15,000 people: 2,800 direct employees at its Kalumbila mine with a further 3,600 contractors working on the mine, while Kansanshi has 3,250 direct workers and 5,300 contractors. Expatriates make up less than 6 per cent of the company’s total workforce with the rest being indigenous Zambians primarily from communities near the firm’s areas of operation.
To ensure local communities receive the maximum benefit from the mine’s presence, First Quantum Minerals has partnered with traditional leaders in setting up a local recruitment database to guarantee prospective employees from the firm’s catchment area are given priority when hiring.