HomeESGFraser Alexander: Investing in people to uplift the economy

Fraser Alexander: Investing in people to uplift the economy

Specialised mining services provider, Fraser Alexander, places a strong emphasis on innovation and creative thinking, which encourages inspiration, improved solutions, ownership and commitment.

Senior HR Manager MARISKA BEYER explains that this can only be achieved by investing heavily in your people. Not only does this ensure ongoing company success but it also gives employees a chance to grow in their careers and attain financial security.

In addition, the company is also involved in initiatives that empower SMMES and help to upskill the workforce of the future. GERARD PETER reports.

Founded in 1912, Fraser Alexander provides outsourced services and related infrastructure to move, manage and add value to minerals, waste, and water. Fraser Alexander’s purpose is to transfer mine waste into societal, environmental, and economic value. Over the years, the company has placed a great emphasis on technology and innovation to ensure that its clients’ operations are optimised and safer.

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For example, Fraser Alexander’s TORAS (Technical Operational Risk Assessment System) is a digitalised system that is used to monitor and manage risk and compliance of tailings storage facilities. This is done through a series of automated instruments and digital services providing a single online portal aimed at providing stakeholders with a holistic view of their facility.

However, technology can only be fully optimised if it is implemented effectively. “We can’t predict what the future will look like, but we do know that people will need a particular set of skills to adapt to digital processes. This includes creativity, innovation, emotional maturity and agile change management approaches,” Beyer adds.

As such, the company has implemented several measures to upskill its employees. “Taking the future into account, we have reviewed job descriptions, defined job-related competencies and implemented a rigid talent management process that identifies skills gaps to ensure that our staff have the necessary competencies,” Beyer explains.

Fraser Alexander offers growth and development opportunities in all areas of its business and encourages its employees to embrace new opportunities and increase their individual capabilities and skills.

It also carries out comprehensive leadership courses for its staff, equipping leaders, and managers with the necessary skills to take people along to achieve the strategy of the business and to instil behaviours to ensure the ideal organisational climate where employees can strive and optimally perform their duties in a safe manner. In addition, the company supports and develops graduates and new employees.

Last year, the company provided opportunities to 56 graduates to learn technical skills in the areas of safety, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, HR and legal and compliance. It is currently supporting 28 employees with disabilities to achieve a national qualification in business administration and awarded bursaries to 30 employees to further their studies.

Beyer points out that Fraser Alexander places a strong emphasis on equal opportunity within the company while at the same time promoting diversity and inclusivity. “In South Africa, our focus is to employ people who are representative of the economically active population of South Africa.

For our offshore divisions our focus is to provide local employment. As such, we do not select high potential individuals only based on race or gender to be part of our learnership and graduate programmes. We also promote equal opportunity and equal pay within the company.”

It is this policy that has created a conducive environment for women within the company. To date, the company has achieved remarkable success in this regard. Currently, females make up 40% of senior management, 29% of management, 23% of senior skilled staff and 34% of skilled staff. In 2023, 34% of all global vacancies in the company were filled by females.

Fraser Alexander: Investing in the future

Fraser Alexander is a firm believer that skills development will empower jobseekers, particularly the youth. “In 2022, we helped members of the Royal Bafokeng Nation to complete a national certificate in mineral processing. We enrolled them into a YES (youth employment services) programme and provided practical experience in the workplace. As a result, some learners were employed in jobs in our company,” Beyer states.

She points out that the YES programme also empowers individuals to seek other employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. “Candidates study both practical and theory modules that allow them to secure gainful employment and even start their own businesses.”

Every year Fraser Alexander hosts a career fair for secondary learners. This year’s event, held in Rustenburg, was well attended and featured an exhibition and talks on the various disciplines of mining and how learners can pursue such careers. “We are proud that this event helps to inform learners about opportunities in mining and gets them excited about the future.”

Providing economic opportunities for communities

Fraser Alexander’s ESD programme is focused on creating financial opportunities for SMMEs and helping community-based businesses.

“We ask our managers in the various locations what their requirements are and then explore ways to outsource these services to community businesses,” explains Beyer.

“For example, we have partnered with the Taxi Association in the Luka community to establish a formal business model for transporting our most asset – our employees to and back from work. We have also assisted a laundry in Witbank to buy washing machines and tumble dryers. The company currently washes our overalls in the area and there is an additional opportunity to provide a broader service to the community.”

Beyer is proud of the success of the company’s ESD programme. “Not only do we want these businesses to grow and create more jobs, but we are also committed to developing sustainable communities,” she concludes.