Antofagasta’s apprenticeship programme starts at Centinela

10 July 2020

109 students from the Antofagasta Region have begun their training to become truck operators and maintain mine equipment as part of Minera Centinela's 2020 Apprentice Programme. 104 of them are women.

Established by Fundación Chile's Veins of Talent with the educational institutions Otec Inacex and Inacap, the Programme has had to adapt to the extraordinary conditions created by COVID-19 with the first two courses, Extraction Truck Operations and Fundamentals of Mining Equipment Electro-Mechanical Maintenance, now being held online. The second course has 100% female participation, making it unique in the industry.

Carlos Espinoza, the General Manager at Centinela, said: “I am very pleased we were able to start this Programme despite the pandemic restrictions. It is an exceptional programme that will benefit a number of students from our communities, and I am proud our operation is leading this initiative, pioneering the current largest e-learning programme.”

Katerine Ramírez, a 28-year-old student from the city of Antofagasta said: “As a woman this is a great opportunity for me, not only to take part but also to be able to continue my training and work in the mining sector, which has always been my dream. I have taken several courses and now I have been given the opportunity to participate in the Minera Centinela Apprentices Programme in a format that accommodates me. I feel like I'm making progress in completing this challenge.”

María Flores, from the Chunchuri Indigenous Community in Calama, said: “This is my first experience in mining. I applied to the Programme through a process led by the neighbourhood council and associations of the Chunchuri Indigenous Community. Now that I have started my training, I have learnt a number of new things – the Programme itself is quite challenging but is also dynamic and engaging. I’m looking forward to becoming a qualified truck operator”.

Antofagasta’s Manager of Northern Public Affairs, Aníbal Chamorro, expressed his pride in the Programme. “This is part of our commitment to help develop human capital as part of the Cluster Agreement we signed with the Antofagasta communities, with a special focus on supporting the technical and professional training of those living in the area. Being able to give bring this initiative to life, despite the challenges created by COVID-19, is a great achievement and reaffirms our commitment to the development of the Region.”

The Programme comprises of more than 300 hours of training. A later practical module will see the apprentices undergo 924 hours of training at Centinela with Antofagasta’s own Instructors.

Throughout the Programme, students will receive a monthly contribution to help them pay for any expenses associated their studies, including a tablet to support their e-learning modules.

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