Finding jobs in the mining industry
by Anne Fluhler
Process plant at a mine site
We are wondering how to find jobs in mining industry: in the office, hospitality, or any other area women are employed in the mining industry throughout Australia. (We were led to believe there are areas in mining that may not be suitable for women to work, too heavy for example.)
What we would like to know is who to approach, who are the catering companies, and if anyone knows much about the working conditions. We are not afraid of hard work, and not picky about what work we do, we just want information from anyone who has worked in the mining industry and what He or She thought of it.
Anne and Robyn
Response to: Finding jobs in the mining industry
Hi Anne and Robyn,Update: Since writing my answer below I have become aware of an excellent resource that addresses all the questions you asked (who to approach, info on the working conditions etc.) Please see my review of Rosco's Mining Employment Guide. Well worth having a look at!
(I also address the question of women in mining on that page, though not in much detail. Because it isn't necessary. There are no differences in how to go about getting a mining job whether you are male or female.)Areas in the mining industry that employ women:
Which areas of the mining industry would employ you depends on your qualifications, your experiences and interests, but also on your personality and how well you sell yourself. Many companies are more than happy to train you if they feel it's worth it. What kind of area you go into is really up to you. If you are happier in the office or catering side of things, fair enough. Many women are. But that does not mean that other areas don't employ women.
Of course it's easier to get a foot into the door if you already have experience in something. You won't get a job as a tradesman unless you have a trade.
There are so many options. Women are often found in jobs like driving the big trucks and machinery. They tend to be more cautious and are easier on the (very expensive) gear. Many plant operators are female. Many sites also have small laboratories and need people to just run around and get samples. That's not a bad job either. And of course any driving jobs, though I would hate to sit on my butt for a 12 hour shift...
(A HR license is a huge bonus if you want to get one of those jobs.)
No matter what area you go into, you usually start at the bottom. Once you are on site you figure out what options are available to you, what training, and where you can move up the ladder, and also what suits you and what you'd like to do.Who to approach:
Permanent or temporary office jobs (can lead to permanent employment) as well as many truck driving jobs, operators jobs or any labouring jobs in process or maintenance you may get both through the mining companies or through labour hire providers. Casual and shut down work is available through labour hire providers.
Overall it sounds like you have no clear idea yet what is involved in "work in mining". So before you apply for a permanent job I suggest you find out what big mines are in the area that you want to work in, and then find out who the subcontractors and labour hire providers are. And then contact them and see if you can get shut down work.
During shut downs there is always demand for unskilled people, and if it's just to do the firewatching and confined space observing. It gives you a chance to have a look at a mine site from the inside, and to talk to people, and to see how you like it.
(This is not for catering or office work, but for work in the plant.)
Any cooking, cleaning and similar work in mining camps is available through the catering companies. They also have the occasional office jobs.
All of the above will also be advertised on the many recruitment sites and job search engines as well.
Most of this is outlined on the page Mining Jobs in Australia
, and there are some useful links.
You asked for jobs throughout Australia. Australia is huge and there are countless mines, so it's impossible to give more specific directions.Information about working conditions from someone who has worked in the mining industry:
I am a female crane driver and scaffolder, so I have no experience on the catering/office side. What follows is about working in the plant.
Regarding gender issues, my experience is that mining companies are reasonably progressive. The bigger the company the more progressive. The labour hire companies have more prejudice, that's where I had the most trouble. But then again, I live in a part of the country that is rather backwards in that respect ...
Regarding the "too heavy" work. Well, sure, depending on what you do the work can be very physical and dirty, and brute strength can help at times. But it's not essential. There's always a workaround. These days the really heavy work gets done by machinery. Mine sites are totally over the top when it comes to safety, so nobody is supposed to do any heavy lifting anyway. You get a chain block or a crane for that.
I've always loved my work and the work environment. I would never work cooking or cleaning. Never. I HATE that stuff with a passion. I enjoy physical work, and I prefer a predominantly male work environment. It is different. It suits some, and it doesn't suit others. It doesn't hurt if you are able to take it on the chin, don't take criticism personal, and not bring any emotions or personal stuff to work. It's just about work and about being part of a team. Oh, and you better not worry much about foul language and pics of naked girls everywhere ...
What I don't like, what nobody likes, is living in a mining camp. Being stuck out there, seeing the same people you work with at the dinner table and at the bar and again at breakfast, little privacy, nothing to do, and simply not being able to go home at night, that is what gets to people. Everybody hates that.
Well, and that's about all I can tell you about it. All you can do is try it out and see how you cope!
All the best to you two!