The workforce at a Scottish surface coal mine has benefited from on-site training. This latest investment by Banks Mining into its staff has provided high-level health and safety and IT training to all the plant operators at its Rusha surface mine, near Breich in West Lothian.The Rusha employees all completed a Level 2 NVQ which focused on health and safety awareness and was then followed up with a practical IT training course. The training was carried out by Edutrain, an Edinburgh based education and training company.Richard McClelland, Managing Director at Edutrain, said: “Feedback from Edutrain’s trainers from the Rusha site was extremely positive, when on site they could see clearly that Banks Group had a strong culture of health and safety.“Many of the operators we assessed are trusted with highly expensive items of plant and as such know the importance of maintaining their operator competence in what is a safety critical industry.“While in the past operators required little or no knowledge and understanding of Information Communication Technology (ICT), things are changing with technology playing an increasingly significant role, therefore it’s getting ever more important that operators of modern plant are comfortable with ICT.”Banks Mining is committed to the development of its employees which mostly comprise of locals from in and around West Lothian. Members of the team at the mine are also being funded through courses at Kelvin College in Glasgow helping to gain valuable qualifications whilst benefiting from practical on-site experience and a wage.Site manager for Banks Mining’s Rusha site, Ian Ritchie, said: “It is of great importance to us that the team that operates in the mine is fully confident, competent and capable of operating to the highest standards.“Development with care is our ethos and that very much extends to our staff. We take great pride in operating in a safe, responsible and efficient manner to ensure that our people have a safe and rewarding place to work that meets our customers’ needs.The company estimates that the Rusha site will contribute more than £5 million to the local economy every year through wages and other supply chain contributions, and in addition to the people employed on site, it will also support a number of other off-site jobs in related transport and supplies activity.Banks Mining has been operating at the surface mine since 2012, as part of a planned seven-year project. The coal extracted from Rusha is used for industrial, domestic and coal fired power generation in both Scotland and England. Once coaling is complete, the 154-ha site will be fully restored and landscaped to a mixture of woodland and agriculture.