By Jason Nitz, Guest Blogger working for major Australian gold producer in Indonesia at The Resource Channel
Image: Sunshine Coast Recruitment is a local company assisting potential employees in their dreams to achieve a mining job - currently they have so many applicants their quote is full!
Contrary to the norm, my journey started well before I actually worked for a miner. I left high school in 1989 not knowing what I wanted to do. Mining didn’t even rate a mention in those days as it wasn’t the media focus it is now. University wasn’t an option for me as I’d had enough of studying. Besides, I don’t think my TE score would have got me into any university! I eventually joined the Navy after nothing else took my fancy.
Upon leaving the Navy I had several jobs; from service station attendant to flight data officer at Brisbane Air Traffic Control, none of which were career focussed in any real direction. The Navy had instilled some discipline in me, but very few jobs in the military set you up with a career in civilian life. After becoming sick with Ross River fever, my doctor suggested a ‘life-style change’ and I chose IT thinking it would satisfy the doctor’s orders. Boy was I wrong!
I completed a fast-track Diploma in Systems Technology through a recognised Institute, and as I was in the top 3 graduates in the class, I got to choose the best employer who had openings through the Institute’s placement scheme. In 2001 it was Mincom who was recognised as being one of the best companies to work for as an IT graduate. I eventually spent 3 years at Mincom working on the help desk, rising to senior help desk administrator. My journey to mining had begun and I didn’t even know it.
Upon finding out my wife was pregnant, we decided we wanted a change in our lifestyle and started to look for jobs in remote areas where life was simple and the raising of a child could become our focus and not the pace of life a big city demanded. As a stroke of luck, Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory were looking for a Systems Administrator, and as it turns out, they had a Mincom product and knowledge of the system was rated highly. I applied and got the job after the first interview. My career in mining had started.
Since then I’ve worked for three large mining companies mostly in the position of Superintendent or Specialist. I’ve transitioned from IT to OT - Operational Technology - in the last few years, mainly as my unique blend of experience over the years has put me in a growing area within mining, namely mining technology. I’ve lived in remote towns in Australia, done a stint in head offices in Melbourne and Brisbane, lived and work in the Middle East, and I’m currently in Asia in another unique opportunity.
Mining offers exciting and interesting job prospects for those who wish to take them. That’s reflected in my number one piece of advice: be willing to take opportunities you may not have thought of or considered. And I don’t mean once you’re in mining as you have to get there first, but in your journey to get into the mining industry. Mining is supported by many other industries that offer a great “leg up” to mining itself. Consider joining one of these support industries if your application to the mining companies isn’t getting noticed. Even if it’s not what you want to do or are qualified for, you’ll soon be recognised for what you do well.
There is more to mining than driving trucks – it’s the image most mining company’s use in advertising but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Don’t think that getting a HV license is automatic qualification for a mining job driving trucks. You need experience before you get to drive the big toys. Most drivers come from other areas of mining mainly as they have a wide range of experience. As another example, if you want to get into geology but aren’t sure about the study, become a field assistant or driller’s assistant. You’ll soon start to realise if it’s for you. And if it isn’t, something else is bound to grab your attention.
For those of you who aren’t university educated or have clear career goals, there are plenty of opportunities left in mining. Just broaden your search for a job to take in those services that support mining, and before you realise it, you’ll be one step closer to your goal. Think about taking a job in a remote town or another part of Australia as these are sometimes hard to fill. Make yourself stand out and you’ll get noticed. And remember, focusing on the big miners for a job is only part of the story.
To follow my experiences working for a major gold producer in Indonesia, click here: http://spiceislandsadventure.wordpress.com/
Do you have any advice to share on getting into the mining industry? How did you make your start? Or are you looking to break into this industry at the moment?