Refreshing skills and relationships
Geology and mining engineering staff in the Maptek North America team challenge themselves with monthly skills training to enable better customer service.
For the past several years geologists and engineers in the Maptek North America team have participated in internal workshops to fine-tune technical knowledge and improve communication skills.
Maptek Technical Services Manager & Training Program Lead, Maureen Moore said that the refresher training educates staff on new software features and the best way to pass that knowledge on.
‘Our goal is to be resourceful and agile to help customers solve their challenges,’ Moore said. ‘Working on our soft skills helps us be more effective in transferring the technical aspects of a task to both internal and external customers.’
During 2023, training was divided into bootcamps by discipline, with an individual capstone project as another option. Staff applied Maptek tools to new datasets to evaluate the potential for open pit and underground training datasets.
The groups meet once a quarter before taking on a new topic. Recently, technical staff from all locations across Maptek in North America gathered in the Golden, Colorado office.
Senior Technical Services Geologist, Anne Gauer has enjoyed all aspects of the training, with new insights into customer needs.
‘Working on datasets for different deposit types and geometries tested my technical skills. Brain-storming the most effective way to teach those concepts reinforced best practice,’ Gauer said.
Project Geologist, Nolan Trenchik found that conversations while working through different topics helped solidify the concepts.
‘The Train the Trainers session was a really great team learning environment. I also enjoyed the geology workshop, where we were given the tools and an objective to work toward,’ Trenchik said.
For the future, Trenchik said a cross-team training session would help improve skills, build connections and fill knowledge gaps.
‘Geologists and engineers could help each other with topics and skills that aren’t part of their background,’ said Trenchik.
‘I would be able to support clients better and ask the right questions when I need support!’ he added.
It is often assumed that technical staff have learned all of the skills they need during their education or previous roles. However, everyone can benefit from upskilling.
Maptek technical staff have access to comprehensive tools to explore, characterise and interpret mining data. The refresher training builds on this so that they are better prepared to provide guidance when customers need it.
‘Staff must be able to recommend which tools to use and how to apply them to make robust decisions in real time,’ Moore said.
Mentoring and a continuous education mindset are the best approaches for individuals and teams to check the understanding and retention of concepts.
Thoughtful onboarding and nurturing of early career technical staff is critical to a long and sustainable pipeline of talent for the industry.
Learning how to communicate effectively while working remotely has contributed to how people learn, apply and retain new skills.
‘During Covid-19 we got better at distance learning and continue to do so,’ added Moore.
The benefits have flowed through to customer service, with several staff reporting that the sessions broadened their expertise for helping with technical support calls and training.
Moore is eager to explore whether similar skills refreshers would help early career professionals, and if so, how partnering with industry could help to deliver it.
- Refresher training helps North America geology and mining engineering staff gain skills around new software features and how to apply them
- Practising how to train customers in the latest tools helps with professional development and onboarding of new staff
- Mentoring and a continuous education mindset are the best approaches to check the understanding and retention of concepts