Educational Policy

At a Glance
  • Ensuring that the skills required by extractive industries are present in the labor force is largely determined by the scope and quality of technical and vocational training (TVET) programs, as well as the existence and quality of specialized national tertiary education systems emphasizing geology and engineering.
  • Extractive industry companies will often organize their own training programs when the quality of vocational education does not meet the standards they set.
  • This creates significant advantage for those governments that have made concerted efforts to improve TVET training because it suggests that lead times for extractive industry projects are likely to be reduced, resulting in major savings and raising the attractiveness of the country to extractive industry investment.
  • Coordinated industry–education partnerships, particularly at community colleges and in the early years of higher education, are also seen as critical to the energy and mining future of advanced and developing countries alike.
  • Providing scholarships to, or twinning with, universities in other countries, or developing regionally based university programs where several neighboring countries pool their resources, are effective tools governments can use to ensure interested nationals receive training as engineers and geologists.

The quality of general education for sustained resource development is crucial when it comes to ensuring that the skills required by extractive industries are present in the labor force. Important dimensions include the scope and quality of technical and vocational training (TVET) programs, as well as the existence and quality of specialized national tertiary education systems emphasizing geology and engineering.

Many challenges face developing countries in their continued efforts to ensure access to jobs for communities closest to the mine, and the importance of basic literacy itself should not be underestimated. It is little surprise that the presence of TVET skills are often identified as a key bottleneck in local hiring, meaning that the quality of vocational education in many countries simply does not meet the standards set by extractive industry companies. Consequently, companies often prefer to organize their own training programs. This creates an advantage for those governments that have made concerted efforts to improve TVET training because it suggests that lead times for extractive industry projects are likely to be reduced, resulting in major savings and raising the attractiveness of the country to extractive industry investment.

National education strategies favoring a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are widely recognized to be essential for policymakers to meet growing demand for oil and gas and mining sector professionals. All countries can, therefore, benefit from identifying and communicating promising practices in the development of current and future energy and mining STEM technical workforces, as well as the barriers that impede that development.

Coordinated industry–education partnerships, particularly at community colleges and in the early years of higher education, are also seen as critical to the energy and mining future of advanced and developing countries alike. These partnerships are designed to create competency-based educational pathways to careers across the industrial sector.

Countries with large or potentially large extractive industry activity are well advised to also give priority to the third dimension of specialized tertiary education, which can assume particular importance in the long run, as the demand for academically trained natural scientists increases from both industry and government. Importantly though, as long as the extractives industry is limited in size, government investment in specialized tertiary education is unlikely to be cost effective. There are several ways that governments can ensure that interested nationals receive training as engineers and geologists. Some examples include providing scholarships to universities in other countries, twinning with universities in other countries with exchanges of teachers, or by developing regionally based university programs where several neighboring countries pool their resources. 

 

Key Resources

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