There`s no doubt about it. Women are increasingly being pursued as a resource for the resource sector. If the predictors and prognosticators are correct in their industry forecasts, we`ll see more women in mining than there has been traditionally, here in Australia.
Under a new State Government plan, at least 20 Queensland women will be offered training and jobs in BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) coal mines in the Bowen Basin. The jobs form part of the State Government’s Women in Hard Hats initiative, designed to improve economic prosperity for Queensland women.
Expanding on the Government`s ongoing Women in Hard Hats program, Minister for Women Karen Struthers, met with students at Upper Coomera College earlier this September, where she stated 140,000 skilled workers will be needed in Queensland`s mining and energy over the next three years.
Will women pursue new opportunities?
The way she sees it, the mining and energy sectors need the involvement of women if they are to continue expanding. Based on what`s been seen to date, Minister Struthers appears to be right on the money. However, a question remains; will women pursue the new opportunities and seek employment in non-traditional mining roles?
BMA Asset president Steve Dumble showed encouragement and said, “Women bring a broad range of skills to the mining sector, and if our industry is to continue to expand we need to recruit more women.”
Peter Evans, Managing director of iMINCO echoes Dumble`s sentiments and says there`s little doubt in his mind that many more women than in the past now want to pursue careers in mining. He says that in recent months there has been a sharp increase in the number of women making inquiries.
Mining training for women
There are Standard 11 Inductions, a Work Ready Program, along with a Mining Supervisor course to name a few, but the focus for women, at least, seems to be the Dump Truck driving course. Currently women booking the course through iMINCO stands at 25 per cent of confirmed applicants for the series of November sessions, which, Evans says, increases each day.
Asked how women can get started, Evans commented, “I can say categorically, there is definite interest in employers and employment agencies seeking women dump truck operators. I know this based on the inquiries my office receives from those very same people. However, jobs don`t just fall from the sky, so it`s up to the individual to position themselves in the best possible light. If they haven`t done so already, women need the training that resource companies expect. And that`s where iMINCO can help.”