Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers in the following groups: Central Control and Process Operators, Mineral and Metal Processing (9231), Machine Operators and Related Workers in Metal and Mineral Products Processing (941) and Labourers in Mineral and Metal Processing (9611). They are employed in mineral ore and metal processing plants such as copper, lead and zinc refineries, uranium processing plants, steel mills, aluminum plants, precious metal refineries, cement processing plants, clay, glass and stone processing plants and foundries.
- Find there are not enough workers for production, maintenance and repair activities. For example, when workers call in sick, they find other workers to fill in and then reorganize work schedules to ensure priority tasks are covered. They may ask managers for authorization to hire casual workers when faced with worker shortages due to holiday schedules and extended leaves. They may also cancel and defer production orders if necessary. (2)
- Are unable to meet production targets due to equipment malfunctions, late deliveries of raw materials, poor coordination among work units and human errors. They find short-term solutions to mitigate production delays. They consult co-workers and service providers to develop longer-term process improvements when this is feasible. For example, production supervisors in concrete product plants may discover cement silos are empty when computer records indicate they are full. They verify packing slips of recent deliveries and contact suppliers to learn what has happened. They may negotiate rush deliveries to continue production. Supervisors in ore processing plants may discover that malfunctioning cylinders on loading equipment have not been repaired as requested. They speak to maintenance supervisors to clarify the urgency of repairs. They may also discuss changes to procedures to improve communication on the relative priorities of work orders for maintenance and repairs. (2)
- Find that conflicts among workers have adverse effects on workers' productivity. They meet the workers in question to determine the true nature and extent of the conflicts. They find solutions which address the causes of the conflicts and are acceptable to those involved. They may consult managers and other co-workers for suggestions and read collective agreements to verify their options. (2)
- Assign tasks to operators and labourers. They take into account workers' skills, experience, preferences and availabilities. They also consider clauses in collective agreements which may restrict task assignments. For example, they may assign cleaning tasks to operators during temporary production shutdowns. They may rotate more physically and mentally exhausting tasks among workers by week rather than by month to improve morale. (2)
- May select suppliers and service providers. They take into consideration production requirements, characteristics of the products and services, reliability of suppliers and contractors and costs. They may make these decisions collaboratively with co-workers. (2)
- Choose production operations and sequences to achieve production targets. They take into account numbers of orders, availabilities of workers, equipment and supplies, maintenance needs and operational efficiencies. They also decide to adjust production variables to improve quality when necessary. For example, production forepersons may decide to reduce production levels when numbers of workers are insufficient. They may shut down production areas and redeploy workers to other functions. Plant supervisors in mineral ore processing plants may add grinding slugs to grinding mills when granulometric readings of ground ore do not meet specifications. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Evaluate the suitability of job candidates. They consider candidates' interviews, attitudes, past work experiences, training and demonstrated abilities. They may share responsibility for these evaluations with co-workers on hiring committees. (2)
- Evaluate the competencies and performance of the workers they supervise. They consider workers' skills and knowledge of equipment and processes, consistency and accuracy of record keeping, knowledge and application of safety practices, interactions with co-workers, degree of work satisfaction and work attendance. (3)
- Evaluate safety in their workplaces at regular intervals. They consider workers' comments and observe their use of protective equipment, tools, plant equipment and machinery to assess the prevalence of safe work habits and the use, comfort and availability of safety equipment. They may also review incident reports and workplace safety inspections from external agencies. (3)
- Evaluate efficiency and effectiveness of production processes. They analyze operating variables such as kiln, furnace and leach tank temperatures and the composition of raw materials and quantities of emissions. They observe processes and discuss their findings with operators and other co-workers. For example, production supervisors in precious metal processing may evaluate the effectiveness of processes to pack finished products. Cement processing supervisors may analyze feed and clinker quality measures, material feed speeds, kiln temperatures and other variables to optimize output volumes and quality. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, work in dynamic environments where the requirements of production processes are paramount. They plan and organize their daily tasks to meet the needs of their teams and the targets set by managers. They have to set priorities and work effectively in the face of conflicting demands on their time. They must show flexibility in their daily schedules to provide timely information to others and rapidly troubleshoot production snags and emergencies such as shortages of workers, shortages in raw material stocks and equipment and machinery malfunctions. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, plan and organize production on a daily basis. They prepare schedules and assign tasks to labourers and process and machine operators. Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, may also play a role in monthly and yearly operational planning. For example, they may develop production budgets, participate in setting annual production targets and recommend the acquisition, refurbishing and repair of production equipment. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember details of production processes. For example, forepersons responsible for the production of continuously cast steel billets remember production processes and standards for a wide range of steel grades. Supervisors in mineral processing plants remember to check for contaminated water when mineral ore is not floating normally in flotation tanks.
- Remember identification numbers for products, processes and work centres for efficient record keeping and database entries.
- Search for information on tools and equipment. They speak to operators, mechanics, suppliers and service providers to find information about equipment operation, maintenance and repairs. They conduct Internet searches and scan equipment brochures, newsletters and trade magazines to learn about new tools and equipment. (3)
- Search for information on production processes. They speak to process and machine operators, quality assurance workers and other supervisors and share their observations. They inspect equipment in operation and analyze process control data. They may collaborate to design and run tests on modified equipment and new production methods and analyze results. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, coordinate job tasks with plant managers, maintenance supervisors, sales representatives, technicians and engineers. (3)
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, participate in ongoing learning to improve management skills, stay current with changes to policies, rules and procedures and operate new equipment. On a day-to-day basis, they acquire new learning through discussions with co-workers and managers. They read memos, equipment brochures, newsletters, trade magazines, collective agreements and bulletins and manuals from regulatory organizations as needed. They occasionally attend suppliers' trade shows and take courses and workshops offered by their own organizations and by regulatory organizations and educational institutions. (2)