Mentorship, Training, and Skills

At a glance

  • Efforts to mentor and train local businesses are ideally context specific.

  • Programs may be set up by the public or private sector, or by both together. They may function at the level of a project, region, or nation.

  • A typical training plan covers a comprehensive set of subjects such as business management, quality assessment, environmental issues, occupational health and safety, finance and costing, sales and marketing, product management, and administration.

Case Studies

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Business Linkages: Lessons, Opportunities and Challenges

This resource looks specifically at value chain SME development and business linkages programs, and reviews 21 different business linkages. ...

Topic Briefing

As described in the subtopic Assessing the Current Situation, the capacity gaps of local suppliers can be wide ranging, requiring context-specific responses. Efforts to mentor, train, and otherwise develop the skills and capacity of local businesses should be adapted to meet the specific needs of each context, rather than replicating existing programs that may have been successful elsewhere.

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Mentoring and training programs may be conducted by the public or private sector, or as a collaboration of the two. They may be run by a specific company, a group of companies, a government authority, or an organization. They may function at the national, regional, or project level. Or they may address all the operations of a particularly multinational extractive company.

Setting up such programs typically involves preparing and supporting a detailed training plan that covers elements of business management, quality monitoring, environmental management, occupational health and safety, finance and costing, sales and marketing, product management, and administration. Mentoring sessions usually make up a significant part of such programs; these are often linked to service providers and agencies that promote technological innovation and access to financing.[1]

Training programs may involve:

  • Supplier workshops.
  • Ongoing courses at a dedicated center or rented space.
  • Training at the supplier’s site.
  • Company sponsorship of suppliers’ management and/or staff to take courses provided by an external provider, such as a vocational institute or NGO.
  • Distribution of written training materials.
  • Providing of goods needed to support reverse-engineering.
  • Joint ventures and/or branch office creation.

Where various extractive companies operate in the same area or region, there could be a duplication of effort if each develops its own supplier development program. This has prompted countries such as Ghana to develop national supplier development programs that streamline training and enhance its sustainability over time.

For more information on job training and education programs, see Building Job Skills Required By Extractives.

View footnotes

[1] Ana Maria Esteves et al., Procuring from SMEs in Local Communities: A Good Practice Guide for the Australian Mining, Oil and Gas Sectors (Brisbane: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland, 2010), 49.