Rwanda has gained an additional 2,000 certified miners,reducing the number of unqualified personnel in the industry whose lack of skills has at times been the cause of accidents in the sector.
The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) 2nd Cohort graduation and certificate awarding ceremony was held this December 6, 2023 at the close of the 3-day Rwanda Mining Week 2023 which was aimed at celebrating achievements made in the industry, under the theme: “Embracing Technology, Investments, and Responsible Mining.”
The new graduate number adds to the first cohort group of 200 officially certified miners who graduated last year, out of the current 75,000 miners to date.
The miner’s training program, aimed at offering on-site technical skills to unschooled workers, is supported by the Belgian government through its development agency- Enabel, the Rwanda Mining Board (RMB), TVET Board, Mining Association (RMA) and Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) among others.
Labor Minister Dr. Jeannette Bayisenge said that this training is very important as it helps the sector employees to get more chances to get hired in the growing mining sector but also be certified in the field of mining which they work in without basic technical skills.
“The certified miners will or are even showing us that learning from the job is possible and it goes beyond the certificate that we get from learning in schools,” Bayisenge said.
Out of the 2,000 certified miners, only 11% were women and according to the minister, more work needs to be done to increase the number of qualified women in the sector.
“Even when there is a lot of government efforts in promoting gender equality, the numbers of women are still low. However, this is already progress made thus we as a ministry will put in more efforts,” Minister Bayisenge said.
Donatien Kamarade, who spoke on behalf of the graduates said that he started as a cleaner but due to on-site learning and training he has ended up as a supervisor with over 300 employees under his guidance at Rutongo mines.
“We want to change the mining sector by increasing productivity,and also be the top ranking country by the end of next year,” Kamarade said.
With 18 year’s experience in the Rutongo Mines, Kamarade says he has done all the dirty jobs in the mines but has moved to become a leader with ambition to advance in the career as a result of the training.
For instance, he has now established his own company-Underground Mines Developer- a sub contract company which hires over 200 employees.
“My dream is to become a mine owner to employ more and earn more,” Kamarade told the local media.
REWU Secretary General, Eng. Andre Mutsindashyaka said that the certification will enable miners to improve productivity in the sector, but also have negotiating power for jobs, work contracts, salaries and insurance policy.