Wednesday 9 August 2017

Our Greatest Asset

At Golden Star we know that our people are our greatest asset. Our people bring their talents to our operations and as a team, we commit to engaging with mutual respect, honesty, and transparency. A key role our leaders play is in the development of their teams, both professionally and behaviourally. Training, education, and professional development, lead to enhanced competency, and ultimately productivity, pride and ownership.

Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Partnership

In early 2016 through a partnership between the Government of Ghana and Global Affairs Canada, Master trainers from Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sakpolytech) undertook a program to assess technical and vocational training needs throughout Ghana. 

This program led to the development of an industry supported project to assist in the upgrading of trades skills and in November 2016, Golden Star indicated its support for the initiative.

Golden Star team members
during a training session

Following the formation of the partnership group, further local facilitation occurred through the support of an NGO called Western Regional Coastal Foundation. Combined Government, industry and TVET expert-led teams then critically assessed available training facilities in the country to determine suitability for use.

Preparing an oxy acetylene cylinder for
a practical session on welding

Upgrading Capacity and Skills

In July 2017, the first of the pilot programs commenced and the initiative included programs for welders with beginner and intermediate-level skills.
Four technical trainers were present, including the Master trainer from Sakpolytech. A key element of the pilot program was the ‘train-the-trainer’ concept, which is a priority for the Government of Ghana as they strive to further enhance technical trade skill delivery. TVET instructors from Kikam Technical Institute also participated to enable them to run similar programs in the future.

Nine Golden Star employees participated in this first program. As the program is competency based, it requires participants to demonstrate a sound understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of each stage, before they progress to the next session. Ultimately successful participants will obtain nationally recognized certification for their new skills and capacity.

Master Trainer Ron Nickel shows members of
Golden Star's engineering team new techniques

What Has Been The Impact?

Who better to ask than the Golden Star team members who participated?

Akwasi Bannor, Blastman at Prestea Gold Mine
“I want to thank the company for such an opportunity for us to en
lighten our knowledge and skills. In fact we thought we were welders but having gone through this training, I have deduced that there were so many things that I was lacking. Both the theory and practical aspect of the training has given me so much and I believe with this, it will increase our productivity towards work especially with underground works. I am happy to have more knowledge on the type of electrode to be used for the right type of job. I once again say a big thank you to the management and I assure them of my best support to the betterment of the company”. 

Amos Ghunney, Prestea Shaft welder at Prestea Gold Mine
“I thank my leaders for selecting me to enrich myself with more knowledge and skills. I have been a welder for so many years but following the training, I have noticed that there was more to learn. I have also been exposed to the modern way of welding for which I am very happy. We used to weld things the old way that we were taught, but now I know how to weld to prevent early leakages and welding to ensure that materials last longer.” 

Emmanuel Mensah, Welder/Fabricator at Prestea Gold Mine
“The training is educational and I have really benefited so much from it. There were many things I wasn’t aware of but now I am privileged to have them at my fingertips because I will be able to weld anywhere around the world. I am grateful and appreciate management for such intentions and I encourage them to do more of this kind of program to make us very familiar with the modern way of doing things”. 

William Davis, Welder (Civil) at Bogoso processing plant
“I am happy about Golden Star’s intention of training its employees to get an increased level of knowledge and skills about their work. I appreciate and thank management for the great impact they are making in our lives because the old way of welding wasn’t helping us as individuals and the company as well. We wasted time doing things but with the new exposure, I am able to weld safely, fast and independently. This training has enhanced my knowledge and skills as a person and I hope it will have a great positive impact on the company at large.” 

Why is this important to Golden Star?

Morgan Lekstrom, Electrical Superintendent, Prestea Gold Mine
“The main idea behind the project is a rapid up-skilling of our current engineering and trades workforce. We realize that we are only as good as our people who perform the work, and at the same time, many of our team has not had the opportunity to update their skills for many years. As a result there were skill gaps as people had not had to use certain skills or had never been officially trained in certain aspects of the work. We believe that investing in our people, and in the people that will train our personnel, will create a distinct advantage, not only for our team but for the industry more broadly. 

Eric Ebo Yankson, Training and Development Coordinator
“I am glad that the trainees will  have additional exposure to the safety aspects of the program for their work, in addition to their new skills. For Golden Star this is critical, we need our teams to be safe and at the same time, produce high quality work that ensures our mine shafts and facilities will last for a long time.
Ghana will also be benefiting, as there will be a time when the employees we have trained will be able to share their knowledge and skills with others and the Technical Institutes will be able to run these programs fully in-house.

"I want to thank Golden Star for their commitment in ensuring the success of this program and to the trainees I say that, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected from him’ and so I encourage them to commit themselves to apply the acquired knowledge and skills in their day to day activities because success will come to you as an individual, the company and Ghana at large.”

A Step Further in Golden Star’s Employee Development Agenda

Frank Odei Akuffo, Group Talent Management Coordinator
“Golden Star believes that organizations “compete through people” and the commitment and visibility management gives to the development of its teams is evidence of this. Management’s commitment to this training initiative goes beyond the immediate benefits to the company of enhanced performance leading to improved productivity. It also demonstrates GSR’s support and contribution towards the WRCF’s initiative on technical and vocational skills development for the extractive industries in the Region and Ghana as a whole. 

"The trainees are very grateful to Management for this commitment towards their career development - during the debriefing session trainees recounted to me how much they had learned and their commitment to ensuring their development will bring an outcome that all will be proud of.”

The Future

Further sessions of welding training are already scheduled for later this year. Following the success of the welding upgrade sessions, our minds have already turned to the advancement of a similar program for electrical trades.  Watch this space to hear more in the future!

Emmanuel Asare, Welder and Fabricator, Bogoso processing plant
“I am scheduled to go for training in October and November but from my past experience, it will be excellent to have the additional knowledge.  We are most grateful to the company for the training and I know our new exposure will help us to be productive and contribute to the success of the company.”

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