New course to bridge skills gap in mining sector

The Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) - Kigali has introduced a new course that is expected to produce skilled technicians in the field of mining.
Coltan mining in Rutsiro. The new course will help Rwandans  take on more responsibilities in the sector.  The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Coltan mining in Rutsiro. The new course will help Rwandans take on more responsibilities in the sector. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

The Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) - Kigali has introduced a new course that is expected to produce skilled technicians in the field of mining.

This makes it the first institute in the country to offer this course which will help in bridging the skills gaps currently biting the mining sector despite its relative development.

Eng. Diogène Mulindahabi, the Principal of the polytechnic told The New Times recently that students who will successfully complete the first phase of the course will be awarded Advanced Diplomas.

“So far, we have received 25 students from Rwanda Education Board (Reb) and five from the Private Sector Federation but we also plan to admit 80 students in September as well as more private students,” said Mulindahabi.

The course will also see students taking six months and one year programmes. Those already admitted are on a three-year course.

According to Mulindahabi, the polytechnic has a budget of about Rwf500 million set aside to purchase training equipment and other such scholastic material.

The mining sector has a total skills gap of 2,721 labour units in the short term and of these skills gaps, 89.9 percent are skilled mining artisans, 4.1 are managers and 2.8 per cent are technicians.

“There are no institutions that offer mining training programmes for professionals and technicians like mine engineers, geologists, metallurgists, geophysicists and geochemists that are demanded in the labour market of the country,” a skills survey report by Rwanda Development Board, reads in part.

According to this report, the mining sector has five provincial activities, including the extraction of stone which is dominant in the sector, mining of metal core, mining support services, retaining of mining products and quarrying. 

The survey that focused on skills profile, proficiencies and skills gaps in the sector was part of the eight targeted sectors that also included ICT, energy, tourism, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, finance and insurance.  

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, the Director of Regulation and Inspection unit in Mines and Geology department under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Francis Kayumba, welcomed the development saying that it comes at a time when the mining sector is transforming and developing rapidly.

Rwanda produces about 8,000 to 9,000 tonnes of mineral compounds every year.

Last year, the sector earned $158 million from mineral trading and this year it expected to generate about US$150 million.

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