Discover how to get a mining job in Australia

Discover how to get a mining job – this is Greg’s story

Learn how Greg got crafty and ended up with a mining job

The facts about getting a mining job

Mining jobs over the last 18 months or so in Australia have gone through a complete 180 degree turnaround. It doesn’t seem that long ago when thousands of people left their day jobs in search of mining ‘pay-dirt’.

What people were chasing was ‘fast money’, and the chance to earn a lot of money, in return for sacrificing their time with loved ones and mates in return for a FIFO lifestyle.

Now that the ‘good ol’ days’ in terms of easy mining jobs are just a faded memory; finding work as a new starter in one of the world`s biggest and most profitable industries can be a daunting and even frustrating prospect for many.

Typically, the most common pathway to a mining job is this: You do the mining training, get a great resume and consistently apply for all the available positions but just can`t seem to get an interview let alone a start.

So why does it seem so difficult to get a start in the mining industry in Australia?

The truth is there are many reasons.

So let’s get straight into it and . . .

  1. uncover the hurdles many cleanskins have to jump overchasing that elusive mining job
  2. help you overcome each hurdle with some practical advice sourced from those who have been in your shoes before

Let`s start with the main reason why it is so hard to get a start in mining.

Maybe you don’t have the safety knowledge and you’re a high risk to mining employers

Ok, I know what you`re thinking, but consider it from an industry/employer perspective.

Firstly, safety is foundational to the mining company reaching their production targets. Any accident, incident or near miss has the potential to slow or even stop mining production. Lost production can negatively impact the commercial viability of a mining lease, leaving a major mining investment with little or no yield over the medium to long term.

This has another run-on-effect, whereby most mining companies in Australia are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and there is an expectation that investors get a return on their investment in that company – typically in the way of dividends.

When a mining operation under-performs, shareholders get nervous and quite often the mining company can lose millions if not billions of dollars worth of future investment; which in turn can affect future jobs growth.

So hopefully you can now see why mining companies want highly trained workers who have been through a rigorous safety training or mining induction program such as the Standard 11.

So what does this have to do with landing a mining job?

Well, it may surprise you to know that statistically the `unskilled labour & apprentice` demographic employed in heavy industry such as mining; are responsible for contributing to more workplace incidents and near misses than any other demographic employed in the heavy industry scope.

This means that statistically at least, new starters in the mining industry pose the greatest risk to mining production and overall site safety.

In response to these types of statistics, Australian mining companies and recruiters use sophisticated Human Resource systems todiscourage the `unskilled labour` demographic from getting a job with a major mining employer.

This is precisely why the majority of online adverts for mining employment will demand all applicants must have a minimum of `two years mining experience` to be considered for the role.

That `two years` mandatory experience is the threshold that separates `unskilled labour` from `skilled labour`. In simple English it means that if you cannot prove 2 or more years of mining experience you will automatically be assessed as `unskilled`.

How do you overcome this obstacle to land a mining job?

Believe it or not, the answer is not to spend a fortune on qualifications and then substantiate your new certificates by lying on your resume. There are many opportunities available if you are willing to dig a little deeper into the mining industry and make the sacrifices necessary to get the required experience, bit by bit, while educating yourself in the areas of mining you wish to work in

Case Study:

A man I know by the name or `Greg` was a teacher, although after 12 years of being’classroom-bound’ he decided to look at a new career as a dump truck operator.

Greg heeded some advice I gave to him and after gaining a few of the mandatory qualifications moved across the other side of Australia to the remote yet bustling mining town of Kalgoorlie. He took a job as a labourer for a road crew, leaving behind his wife and 9 year old boy in Queensland.

After around 3 months of patching pot holes, Greg applied for a job with a civil construction contractor employed to cut new haul roads at the local gold mine. The job meant only people who lived in the area would be chosen, therefore narrowing down the job competition and giving Greg his first crack at working on a mine site.

The contract lasted for around 10 weeks, after which Greg took another job in town working in construction for a block layer until another short term contract arose providing more opportunity for Greg to gain much needed mining experience. Greg continued to work this way until about 18 months went by; then a trainee mining production role came up with the local mine. Greg applied for the job and he got it.

What can you learn from this?

  • First of all, Greg streamlined his approach

From the outset, Greg sat down and worked out what he wanted and mapped out his plan to get it. Greg knew exactly what role he wanted in the mining industry and consulted mining industry workers to get the information he needed to further his career; after all, he had a wife and 9 year old son back in Queensland who were depending on him. The most important fact was that Greg ensure any further training or action he took was going to give him a greater chance of to achieving his goals.

  • He was willing to move closer to where the work was

Greg didn`t simply write `willing to relocate` in his resume or cover letter, he actually researched areas where the demand for local workers was high. He knew that due to mining employing people who lived close to the mine, he would be able to pick up a job in town while strategising his next move towards getting a good job in the mines that he liked.

  • He applied for jobswith local contractors

Large mining companies will rarely hand out jobs to `unskilled labour`. However, and this is a very good point, so take note of this one. If you apply for jobs with contractors that deliver goods and services to the local mines, you more than likely find employment is easier to come by. These local contractors often lack the cash flow and/or admin support to FIFO employees. Meaning any local worker will be seen as a more viable option.

  • Greg was willing to make the necessary sacrifices

Greg and his family sat down and discussed the pro`s and con`s about a career move into the mining industry; and together as a family, they agreed on what sacrifices they were willing to make. This meant that time spent away from each other was something they all agreed on.

Ultimately, anything worth having will be worth the effort. Mining jobs in Australia can mean a large pay packet as well as additional exposure to new opportunities to grow and develop in one of the world`s biggest industries.

What’s next?

If you are prepared to research, upskill and make the sacrifices necessary, you can overcome the stumbling blocks and land a great mining job in Australia. One of the proven ways to learn about the Australian mining industry is to read iMINCO Project News.

The weekly news bulletin is packed with mining information that is geared towards mining jobs; who’s hiring, where the jobs are (now and in the future); and how to go about getting one. Project news doesn’t cost a thing, so you’ve got nothing to lose giving it a try. Click the banner below to get started – today!

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