CAREERS GUIDANCE KEY TO FULFILLING CAREERS – FQM
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Careers guidance plays a critical role in combating youth unemployment and driving sustainable development in the economy, according to one of the nation’s largest private sector employers.
First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is of the view that lack of careers guidance is affecting the jobs market, making it difficult for industries like mining to find people with the right knowledge and skills to drive long-term sustainable employment in the sector.
Speaking on the side-lines of the International School of Lusaka’s first ever Annual Careers Fair, FQM Trident Public Relations Specialist Mirriam Harmon said the company remained committed to providing information and an array of opportunities available to young people ranging from scholarships at higher learning institutions to community skills training.
“Our participation in this Job Fair at the International School of Lusaka – has come at the right time when a lot of Zambians have shared their outcry, that the mines are not employing enough Zambians.
“A lot of children today have their eyes set on becoming doctors or accountants. A lot of people don’t want to do mining, because they think of the old mining days when their grandfathers or great great-grandfathers used to work in the mine and come after days, looking beaten and dirty. But we are now talking about a modern industry, where the mines are using modern and state of the art equipment. we are looking for young people who are ambitious and can make a difference to the mining industry, not only in Zambia but globally including our operations in Australia, Peru, Turkey, Mauritania. So, they have all these opportunities that are waiting for them,” she explained.
She further said that the mining firm is working in tandem with government’s pronouncement in seeing that more Zambian graduates get employed by industries like Mining.
In addition to creating employment, First Quantum Trident offers its employees further skills training opportunities. And at trades schools, the company has also diversified the training programmes to not only focus on mechanical and electrical trades but encourage students to move into other areas such as administration and occupational health and safety.
Speaking at the same event, Eleveight Wellness Solution ECO/Managing Consultant and event organiser Suwilo Namfuwe explained that the annual Careers Fair was meant to provide students with opportunities to interact with different organisations within the community, across Zambia so they can have an idea of what opportunities exist, what kind of jobs they can take part in, what different jobs exist in different industries, and different organisations.
“It is an opportunity to give them (students) information so that they can start making decisions about what they are going to do with their lives, with their careers, and how they can get there as well,” she added.
Ms Namfuwe said further noted that FQM had been playing a significant role in helping students choose the right career path.
“For students to be able to interact with a company that is known throughout Zambia; be able to find out what it means to be a mine geologist or an engineer in a mine site, or to work in HR at a mine site; to be able to have that interaction with the mining company itself, with representatives from First Quantum who can shed light on what it means for them to work in a mining industry, is huge for our students. It is absolutely massive for them to be able to have that opportunity, to be able to get insider knowledge of what careers in mining would look like for them,” she continued.
And Mulenga Tembo, Talent Superintendent at FQM Trident, said careers guidance played a critical role in attracting people to the mining industry.
“When most people think about mining, all they think about is mining engineering, but there are so many things that you can be. If you are an accountant, you’ve got a place with us; if you are a medical doctor you’ve got a place with us; if you are an environmentalist and you love nature, you’ve got a place with us. And if you are like me and you are in human resources, you’ve got a place with us. There are so many careers that one can choose from when considering a career within the mining industry,” she said.
Arnav Khanna, a year 12 student at the International School of Lusaka, said the Careers Fair provided an opportunity for students to see what types of careers were available for them.
“I believe it has opened my eyes in a way that I didn’t realise. Because when you typically think of mining, you don’t really think of it in terms of the many professions it has. I’m debating between going into the engineering side or the medical. As far as engineering, I walked up to FQM’s desk and asked how that could fit in, and I learnt a lot about the different aspects of a career in mining, how an engineer fits in it all, also how you progress in your career. It was a really interesting conversation,” he said.
FQM continues to be an equal opportunity employer and embraces Zambia’s diversity. The company has put in place measures that help to provide suitable employment opportunities.
About First Quantum Minerals Ltd
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2021, First Quantum globally produced 816,435 tonnes of copper, 312,492 ounces of gold and 16,818 tonnes of nickel.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine and smelter in Solwezi and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.