Udaipur : Badri Lal Meena, an underground worker from Kesariya Village, close to Zawar, who is a school dropout, has always dreamed of working on machines that fuel the nation’s growth. Brought up in a village close to the world’s oldest zinc mines, his fascination with mining equipment and the world of mining brought him to work where he had wanted to since childhood, at Zawar Group of Mines. But his curiosity knew no bounds, and one day, upon learning about Hindustan Zinc’s Mining Academy and the opportunities it offered, he switched gears from an underground mine worker to an underground machine operator with rigorous training, classroom sessions, and hands on experience. This journey was fulfilled by his curiosity to learn and propelled by India’s largest integrated producer of Zinc-Lead and Silver, Hindustan Zinc.

The youth of India represent the workforce of the future, and their skill development is essential for achieving the goals of self-reliance, economic growth, and the overall development of the country. Youth reskilling, upskilling, and skill development play a crucial role in the success of the government’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, and they hold specific significance in the mining sector.The mining academy, which was initiated in June 2022 with a purpose of skill development to fulfil the growing need of skilled manpower in Underground Mechanized / Digital Mines and reduce the dependency on Expats. Twenty operators have graduated from the academy at Zawar, in line with Hindustan Zinc’s vision to reduce expat dependency and infuse local talent with path-breaking skills that have the power to change the face of Indian mining.

As the nation grows, the need for skilled manpower also grows. With the tremendous rise in the country’s GDP output, it becomes the goal of large conglomerates to develop the hinterlands with skills, employment, and livelihoods. The vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, laid down by the Prime Minister, is also another focal point of this academy. The company aims at reducing dependency on foreign metals for the growth of the nation, as well as expat dependency.This initiative is to develop skills in the community so as to drive our nation towards an auspicious future through community participation.

Kundan Singh Bhati is another trainee who, like his father, works at Zawar Group of Mines. But his thirst for earning respect and being at par with his foreign counterparts made him register for the academy. The training, learning, and mentoring he received from the academy gave him a wealth of information and fuelled his desire to accomplish more.Today Kundan Singh Bhati is a drill operator at the Zawar group of mines, inspiring many more of his likes.

The Hindustan Zinc Mining Academy stands out in the vast mine of rocks and ore with its unique blend of classroom and practical learning, hands-on experience, and mentoring by seasoned veterans. During six months of surface and underground training, workers can innovate and, through skill advancement, become drill operators. The first four months are dedicated to on-surface training, and the other two months are dedicated to underground machine training under the supervision of a senior operator.

This program is further fortified by various provisions, such as a 3D simulator, which is a hi-tech virtual reality device used to train operators in heavy machinery. The simulators have proven to be a cost-effective, safe, and efficient method to impart requisite training about concepts as well as skills, including control familiarization, procedure compliance, etc. One of the key elements of on-the-job training is operator shadowing, wherein the candidates closely shadow the current jumbo operators who are assigned to them as trainers, thus gaining comprehensive hands-on experience.

Visionary initiativeslikethis, is moving India towards building indigenous talents and reduce the dependency on expats. This isn’t just about unlocking India’s mining prospects; it’s about catalyzing a movement that could inspire other companies. When such initiatives gain momentum, the nation’s youth will have more chances to excel, helping shape the nation as a global superpower.