Employees on the ‘front line’
TINIE KRUGEL and his team are expanding a training centre that serves not only De Beers but also provides training for the private and public sector round Kimberley and from the Northern Cape. De Beers has been training people for years but over the past 12 months has broadened that role by establishing the Lesedi (which means light) Training Centre in Kimberley.
Manager Krugel has been key in the founding of the training centre. He’s been with De Beers for 11 years. “Lesedi has been running for a year and a bit. The speed at which we’ve put this together is really
remarkable. The people working here are extremely dedicated,” says Krugel.
He says the thinking behind the centre was to educate and train people, allowing them to think differently – which enhances their ability to deal with change. As a result they become more empowered and adaptable employees. “We can’t run away from this change… If we have employees who can deal with change it helps the company.”
Prior to the establishment of the training centre, training at De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) had tended to focus on technical and on senior management. Now, in line with the recognition of the importance of employees on the “front line” – those who are actually mining and processing diamonds – the approach towards training needs has changed. “It’s important to drive productivity – to be better today than we were yesterday. One way to do that is to equip the front line with skills,” says Krugel.
Lesedi aims to provide training courses for its employees and people from other companies. As a result of the company’s deep history DBCM has a high affinity with Kimberley and the people of the Northern Cape. “We want to contribute to the skills challenges facing SA, not just in De Beers but also in areas such as the Northern Cape,” says Krugel.
The centre is split into two divisions: technical and non-technical. De Beers already had a technical training arm and that was ab- sorbed into Lesedi, providing the basis for the school. “We took the technical centre and expanded that. The learnerships include mining, metallurgy and engineering,” says Krugel.
The non-technical department offers learnerships in supervisory skills and productivity, as well as introducing a number of e-learning courses.
Lesedi is working together with the Da Vinci Institute to establish a masters degree that would cover management and leadership, innovation and technology in the field of continuous business improvement, says Krugel.
Each year there are around 500 students training at Lesedi on both the technical and non-technical sides, with the number of people enrolling for e-learning courses around 3 000. “It’s not all about money,” says Krugel, but Lesedi does have the freedom to operate commercially.