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Editorial comment

Year after year, industry trends underline the importance of workforce training programmes for both incoming and current industry workers. On one hand, the mining industry is facing a generational shift as an experienced workforce retires, including both frontline workers and c-suite executives. Approximately 26% of the current mining workforce in Canada is expected to retire in the next decade. At the same time, technology is a differentiator for leading mining operations, and digitalisation is continuing to gain momentum. Data collection and processing are essential for supporting far more productive operations. Traditionally, it would take all day to locate an electrical fault. With digital solutions in place and personnel properly trained in how to use them, miners can dramatically streamline operations and locate an electrical fault in a fraction of the time through intelligent sensors that deliver new, data-driven insights. Education programmes can help bridge the gaps left by retiring workers and enable miners to adopt more Internet of Things technologies.


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Education and training are part of our core values at Eaton, and we recently announced a three-pronged investment in education, workforce training and industry programmes to help address the growing skills gap for our customers. The challenges new and incumbent workers face are often different. New professionals may have hundreds of classroom hours behind them, but little training on the actual equipment they’re going to use or design in the field, while seasoned professionals can often benefit from training and hands-on experience on the latest (and always evolving) equipment as well as industry codes and standards. Our training and education programmes start at Eaton Experience Centers, including two facilities in the US, located in Pittsburgh and Houston. Industry training programmes at our experience centres offer skills training on a range of digital and safety technologies for CEUs and PDHs.

FMiners are often at the end of the electrical grid and power quality issues like voltage sags and harmonics are common on remote and vast sites. Troubleshooting and fixing typical power quality issues cannot wait, and so we have also developed a range of online training courses to bridge the gap. For students and young professionals, we’re joining forces with colleges and universities to facilitate learning through real world training programmes. Our work with the University of Pittsburgh is a great example of how partnerships with universities provide hands-on training in real world environments.

We’ve worked with the University of Pittsburgh for over a decade to develop new courses, certificate programmes and research projects to help students speak the language of electrical power. Our dedication comes to life at the university’s on-campus Electric Power Systems Lab training facility and extends to our most recent joint effort, the Energy Innovation Center Lab, where students, faculty and industry organisations collaborate to move the industry forward with full scale 15 kV and 480 V equipment. These labs foster research across a wide range of electric power areas. Rapid technology adoption and digital technologies have altered the way companies explore and process raw material and safely transport it. Yet, legacy equipment remains in operation, and many companies are relying on equipment that’s been in use for decades.

Rapid technology adoption and digital technologies have altered the way companies explore and process raw material and safely transport it. Yet, legacy equipment remains in operation, and many companies are relying on equipment that’s been in use for decades. The reality for both the current and next generation workforce is that they need to negotiate technologies both old and new. Our education investments are designed to address this challenge and more to prepare the industry workforce for successful careers.

Dan Carnovale, Manager of the Eaton Experience Center in Pittsburgh, USA.
Marc Elliott, Global Segment Director for Mining, Minerals and Metals, Eaton, USA.