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“Public policies are required to develop a culture of innovation”

This is assured by the mining seremi of Aysén, Julio Zuñiga, who recently signed a collaboration agreement with the Professional Technical School of Mañihuales to help train “miners for the future”. The project aims to give relevant skills for the challenges of the industry, and also to train students as digital miners, capable of programming by handling codes.

Shape the technicians that mining needs today. With that objective in mind, the Regional Minister of Mining of Aysén generated a strategic alliance aimed at improving the quality of technical education for students who will graduate from the Professional Technical School of Mañihuales, an establishment that in 2018 created the Middle Level Technical Career in Mining Exploitation. This is a great milestone for the region, since the establishment will train the first generation of technical specialists in the mining area in Aysén.

About this initiative, we spoke with the Aysén mining seremi, Julio Zuñiga, who tells us about the objectives of the project and stresses the imperative of generating public policies that promote a culture of innovation at all levels.

Why do you decide to support this initiative? Do you have plans to expand your reach?

The career is a milestone at a regional level, as it will shape the first generation of technicians in the region specialized in the mining area, thus taking a great step to improve the skills of future workers who will work in historical mining areas in the region .
There is an initiative at the ministerial level today that promotes professional practices in six companies in the national mining sector: Antofagasta Minerals, Anglo American, Enami, Finning, Komatsu and SQM. This activity, which is part of the Mesa Mujer y Mining, aims to make mining move towards a more inclusive and sustainable activity. Based on the above, it would be interesting in the future to be able to establish links with these companies so that students can have the opportunity to do their internships.

How was the entrance of the students into the working world? Do you have figures on it?

The TP School from Mañihuales is a new establishment that began its activities in March 2016 and only in 2018 did it create the Middle Level Technical Career in Mining Exploitation. Its first promotion will graduate in November of this year, which is why we still do not have figures that allow us to evaluate the employment of these students, however, we have high expectations in this regard.

Have you seen or studied similar initiatives in other parts of the world?

We have knowledge of another similar experience and the school is in contact with them. This is the President Pedro Aguirre Cerda from Rancagua Industrial School, administered by the University of Santiago of Chile, which was formed in 2012 with the objective of training highly qualified mining operators, aimed at addressing the deficit of operators for the El Teniente Mine, of Codelco. During the first semester of this year, the students of the career were able to travel to Rancagua, to know and see on the site how they operate, and how the initiative has been developed.

What is your long term vision?

That these students are part of the mining of the future, that during their training process they can develop their abilities to the fullest and that this translates into a solid Professional Technical Training, characterized by relevance, quality and being an answer to the needs of the local, national and international mining industry.

How are these initiatives integrated into the Alta Ley Corporation Mining Roadmap?

With the help of technology, it is intended to develop a pilot, in order to connect students with medium and large-scale mining, which allows them to learn skills that bring them closer to the mining of the future, training as digital miners, capable to program handling codes and work alternatives such as teleworking.

What is needed at the level of public policies to promote innovation and human capital in the mining sector?

Innovation is an essential need for our development. There is no way to grow in a sustained and sustainable way without relying on innovation and development and incorporation of new knowledge into the mining work of our country.

In order for innovation to be part of the daily work of the sector, public policies are required that aim to develop a culture of innovation and in which the power of State should fulfill the role of facilitator of the channeling of private efforts, providing guidance and a strategy for its developing.