Women value mining jobs

By Kim Fulton of the Westport News -
Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Women make up almost 11 per cent of Solid Energy's Stockton Mine staff and the company believes women are increasingly valuing operator jobs and seeing them as attainable.

Solid Energy communications manager Bryn Somerville said 60 of Stockton's 568 staff were women and the number of women operators at Stockton was increasing.

"Solid Energy has an equal employment opportunities policy - best person for the job - so it's encouraging to see this, as well as a greater proportion of women applying for roles when they become available.

"I think it indicates that women are increasingly valuing these jobs and viewing them as attainable."

He said women held just over half of Stockton's 17 administration and clerical jobs.

They held 10 of its 56 professional roles including accountant, advisor, co-ordinator, engineer, geologist, graduate, nurse, planner, senior accountant and surveyor.

One of the mine's six technicians was female, as was one of its nine managers.

About 8 per cent of the mine's 430 operators or tradespeople were women. Four of 50 supervisors or superintendents were women.

Mr Somerville said women made up 13 per cent of Solid Energy's staff overall, in line with Australia's numbers.

Australian Mining this year reported that the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) estimated women filled 13.4 per cent of roles in the Australian resources industry.

The AWRA was working hard to lift participation of women in the industry to 25 per cent by 2020.

Meanwhile, Australia's Mining Monthly's editor reported Downer Mining, who had a female workforce of 14 per cent, aimed to reach 25 per cent by 2020, through a 2 per cent yearly increase in the female workforce.

Part of the initiative was to recruit 10 female operators each year to join Downer Mining's teams at five Queensland mine sites.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal agreed with Downer's plan. It ruled men were found to be more susceptible to risk-taking than women and increased female participation in positions at mine sites would provide an opportunity to improve a safety culture in the organisation.

Trainee programme resumes

Mr Somerville said seven women were among the 16 people selected for a new intake of Stockton's operator trainee programme.

The programme had been on hold but restarted recently, with the first two of 16 new trainees starting their four-month on-the-job training. Each fortnight another two would start.

All going to plan, the trainees would pass all their assessments needed to drive trucks at the mine. That didn't guarantee them a job at the end of four months as jobs depended on vacancies.

"Even so, we had almost 90 people apply for the 16 places going in this intake, which tends to suggest that people still see it as a valuable skill to acquire," said Mr Somerville.

Experience showed Stockton had lower turnover among local people. Because of their strong connection to the community they were more likely to commit to a career at the site.

The operator trainee programmes it had run had been partly about providing an opportunity for local people to gain the skills and knowledge needed to get jobs at the mine.

- Westport News

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