How to Find a Job in the Mines (or Resources Industry) Guide

How to Find a Job in the Mines (or Resources Industry) Guide


In the ‘Job Sites’ series we run over the major Australian Blue collar job sites from all over this big beautiful country of ours, plus a few other exotic locations.  In each post we include an Overview of the site, a Location Profile, the Companies involved, potential Occupations required, the skills / qualifications that may help you to get your foot in the door and the Enterprise Bargaining Agreements – if there are any.  This will help you to stay in the loop and know how to skill up where needed.  The aim is to help you get yourself into the best position to land a start on the major job sites around Australia.

We are frequently contacted and asked, “How can I find a job in the mines?” This is a really hard question for us to provide a simple answer to, yet we can’t blame people for asking. We have lived this same dream ourselves. With the money, flexible rosters and good conditions on offer out there, it can be a great opportunity to get yourself and your family set-up.

The reason it’s not such an easy one for us to give you a clear answer on is each individual has a unique situation, skills, experiences and preferences, so you need an individual answer.

Firstly for example, there are many different sectors within the Australian resources industry and it is a common mistake, to class them all as ‘Mining’. This can be a major setback for workers trying to skill up and get their foot in the door, as many of these industry sectors require different skills, experiences and training courses.

First, Some Tough Love

This post is a guide only and offers no guarantees, but is intended to help you to break into the resources industry. If you follow it and endlessly persist you are likely to get your start, just as we did. Saying this, it won’t be easy and you will need to sacrifice your time, possibly your lifestyle and some cash. You’ll also need to have thick skin, as you are bound to be knocked back numerous times before getting in the door, and please remember the industry can be quite Boom and Bust at times, so plan accordingly.

Even with skills shortages you have a lot of competition. You need to be prepared to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd and get yourself into the right opportunities. Don’t stress though. Whilst it is hard, it really can be quite simple, if you take the time and put in the effort to do it right.

Finding Your Direction

Many people we talk to just go out and do the first course that someone else recommends, without first knowing exactly where they want to go, hoping that it will be the answer they are looking for. Often they just end up disheartened and out of pocket. For this reason we put together a questionnaire to help with the next step. By answering these questions you will have a much stronger idea of where you want to go. From there you have direction, and can then work to fill in the gaps in your skills, qualifications and experience.

The Questionnaire

To help you find the most efficient road possible to your chosen Blue Collar Lifestyle, the first step is to answer the questionnaire below. You will decide a preferred Lifestyle, Career Change, Occupation/s, Industry and Type of Work and then rank your results. The whole purpose of this is to help you determine a target to aim for, rather than shooting wildly and just hoping for the best.

Have a good think about your answers and discuss them with your family or partner. Don’t try to rush through, you’ve got a pretty big road ahead as it is, especially if you are a ‘Green Skin.’ If you rush now, more than likely it will just get longer and more expensive.

With that in mind, let’s get you started.

Note: As you go, record your answers for yourself as below.

 

Lifestyle Questions

Firstly, you need to decide what sort of Roster / Lifestyle you are willing to lead.

1/ Do you live in an area with large‐scale Mining or Construction work?

YES – Your best bet to breaking in is to focus close to home. Employers are generally more willing to put on locals, as it is cheaper, quicker and is looked upon more favourably by the local communities. If you are happy to stay local Go to Q4/ if not Go to Q2/.

NO – Just to get you prepared this does make breaking into the resources industry a fair bit harder, less flexible and you may have to be more sacrificial. At the same time you have to get your work / life balance in order, so keep going and the below will help work you towards it. Go to Q2/.

2/ Are you willing to relocate to an area with large‐scale Drilling, Mining or Construction?

YES – This will make getting a start much easier for you, but remember nothing is ever guaranteed. Your best bet to breaking into an industry is to be a local, as employers are generally more willing to put on locals as it is cheaper, quicker and is looked upon favourably by the local communities.

Note: Before you do decide to sell-up, pack-up and head off to an area that has large-scale Drilling, Mining or Construction going on, do your research well. Often house prices and rents can be crazy and that’s if you can find one that is available. Visit online property listings as a guide to what certain regions have to offer and the costs of living. Once you are seriously considering relocating also make sure to ring at least 2 – 3 local real estate agents to get a solid run down on current market prices and availabilities as these can change very quickly.

If you are willing to, but relocating isn’t really your preference, you should probably still check out the options at Q3/, before progressing to Q4/.

NO – If you have answered No to Q1/ as well, our guess is you are chasing FIFO (fly-in fly-out) or DIDO (drive-in drive-out). Go to Q/3.

3/ Are you willing to FIFO (fly‐in fly‐out) or DIDO (drive‐in drive‐out) to an area with large‐scale Drilling, Mining or Construction?

YES – Alright, here is a heads up for you. Nearly everyone we talk to wants a FIFO job. Thing is they can be hard to land without the skills, experiences and contacts to get you that foot in. To give you an idea of what you are looking at here is a rundown on some example FIFO and DIDO conditions and rosters.

FIFO and DIDO for Mining – As a generalisation the FIFO rosters for mining are more family friendly eg. 7 days on 7 days off, 14 days on 14 days off, 14 days on 7 days off, 10 days on 4 days off. This can vary from site to site and even from section to section within a site.

FIFO and DIDO for Drilling (Onshore) – As a generalisation the FIFO rosters for drilling are more family friendly eg. 7 days on 7 days off, 14 days on 7 days off, 14 days on 14 days off, 14 days on 7 days off, 10 days on 4 days. This can vary from site to site and even from section to section within a site.

FIFO for Drilling (Offshore) – As a generalisation the FIFO rosters for Drilling (offshore) are good if you are into longer breaks between being on-roster. eg. 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, 3 weeks on 3 weeks off, 4 weeks on 4 weeks off. This varies from rig to rig.

Note: Unless you have heaps of experience onshore and/or know somebody high up the ladder that can get you in, it may take you many years to land an offshore gig.

FIFO for Construction – As a generalisation the FIFO rosters for construction are longer, but more time at work can also mean more cash, so there is an upside. eg. 4 weeks on 1 week off, 3 weeks on 1 week off, 5 weeks on 2 weeks off.

Note: Some times on longer rosters there is also a day or two off during your stint on site, often called a pyjama or rest day, where you rest in camp.

DIDO for Construction – As a generalisation the DIDO roster for construction range from 10 days on 4 days off to 4 weeks on 1 week off and anywhere in between.

Note: With all of the above rosters remember you have travel days in there as well. Some sites / companies will travel you in their time and at their cost, some will be at yours and some will be shared. Always ask the question to avoid any surprises.

NO – If you have answered No to Q/1, Q/2 and this one, your options are beginning to get pretty narrow for the larger scale sites and projects. You are going to have to sit patiently and take what comes to town. Often the Infrastructure, Light Industrial, Commercial and Domestic industries are going to be your best bet. With that in mind, jump on down to Q4/.

 

Lifestyle Q/1 – Q/3, rank your preferences 1, 2 ,3

____ Local (close to home)

____ Relocate

____ FIFO or DIDO

 

Career Change Questions

Now let’s find out what changes your career could possibly take along the way.

4/ Do you have any Blue Collar industry experience?

YES – Already having Blue Collar industry experience is a huge bonus. It can take people a fair while to understand how different industries work, what tasks needs to be done next (without being told by your leading hand each step) and for the employer to trust that they can turn their back or leave site for 5 minutes and not have anything go wrong or somebody get injured. Good start, off to Q5/.

NO – If you don’t have any industry experience you’ll commonly be known as a ‘Green Skin’ and will have a slightly harder and longer road ahead of you. On the flipside the world is your oyster and you have seemingly endless options to move forward and progress into. You will however require time to learn how to work safely, understand the new job and the work environment. It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe from injury, just as much as your own, so you will be watched over a lot more until you are seen to be developing your awareness.

In most cases you will have to start from the bottom to gain the skills and experience needed to climb the ladder. How keen you are and how fast you learn will to a certain extent determine the speed at which you progress. Select ‘Breaking into the Industry in a new Occupation (Green Skin)’ below.


5a/ Are you looking to change your Industry but stay in the same Occupation?

YES – Relevant experience and gaining a couple of training courses / inductions is most likely going to need to be your first step in this direction. To get your experience up, best bet is to apply for jobs with small to medium contracting companies that work for the owner of the site (mine, refinery, power station, what ever it is). Using them as your stepping stone or foot in. Your experience will count for a lot already but it will take a bit of time to understand how the new industry works.

More than that as you are probably sick to death of hearing, you need experience. We know, it’s pretty hard to get the experience if they won’t give you the experience. This is why you should be chasing up the small to medium contracting companies first, they are often more willing to give you that start. Select ‘Changing Industry whilst keeping your Occupation’ below.

Note: Another plus to starting with a contractor is, it is better to have your ‘green’ moments with them rather than the owner of the site. (mine, refinery, powerstation etc.) Being smaller they can also be more flexible in their negotiations with you and your working conditions. This always varies from company to company.

NO – Go to Q5b/

5b/ Are you looking to change your Occupation within the same Industry?

YES – A good start here if possible is to spend some time with other workers within your industry to get to know the role of your newly chosen occupation. You should also aim to get some work experience with them and make it clear that you are interested in learning their daily tasks. Help them out wherever and whenever you can, if the opportunity comes up, offer to cover a shift and make sure you throw your hat in the ring for any traineeships or positions that may be on offer.

Remember that here, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Saying this, pick your moments and targets. Don’t pester someone who isn’t interested, find a Supervisor or Leading Hand who is passionate about what they do and show them you are keen. Don’t waste your time on the miserable Supervisors or Leading Hands that are uninterested themselves, they will more than like just make your life harder as to them a squeaky wheel isn’t a reason to improve something, it’s a pain in the arse. So play your cards smartly and pick the right hand to go all in on.

Another way to gain experience is by again getting a job with a small to medium contracting company, your inductions and industry experience will make their job easier and they may even be willing to put you through a course or two to gain the new qualification, if you commit to them. Select ‘Changing Occupation within your Industry’ below.

NO – Go to Q5c/

5c/ Are you looking to change your Industry and Occupation?

YES – If you want to change your industry and occupation all at once you may want to consider making the change in two steps. The best approach is generally to keep the same occupation for a while and take the change of industry step first. This way you get your ‘foot in’ without losing too much momentum, gaining experience in the new industry whilst making a name for yourself. Then let your intentions for an occupation change to be heard. Select ‘Changing both your Industry and Occupation’ below.

Note: If do you want to make the jump in both industry and the occupation at the same time it is best to make sure all your ducks are in a line first. There is almost always the need for more experience and more courses/inductions, when making a change so make sure you are all sorted first. Again the path of least resistance is often via a small to medium contracting company as a stepping-stone or target to reaching your overall goal.

NO – Go back to Q5a/ and read through the options again or if still unsure select ‘Still Unsure’ below.

 

Career Change Q/4 – Q5/ Righto, so what change are you making…. Tick one.

____ Breaking into the Industry in a new Occupation (Green Skin) – Go to Q6/ then

____ Changing Industry whilst keeping your Occupation – Go to

____ Changing Occupation within your Industry – Go to Q6/

____ Changing both your Industry and Occupation – Go to Q6/ then

____ Still unsure Go to Q6/ then

 

Occupation Questions

Next we will nail down which occupation or occupation group is most up your alley.

6/ As a kid where you more into Tonka Trucks or building Treehouses? In other words would you prefer to Operate Machines or Work with your hands?

Operate Machines – A machinery operator spends more time operating than they do fixing, servicing and maintaining the machine. Although you will still spend time fixing, servicing and maintaining, this is not your primary role.

eg. A Roller operator will perform a pre-start on their roller, and then get to work compacting the grounds surface.

eg. A Crane Operator will spend most of their time operating the cranes than doing the pre-start checks, setting up the crane site, stabilizing the crane, and demobilising after the lift is performed.

If operating machines sounds like your thing, go to Q7/.

Working with your Hands – The occupations that work more with their hands are Labourers, Skilled Labourers, Tradespersons and Fixed Plant Operators. Labourers, Skilled Labourers and Tradies work in all industries and do more maintaining, building and installing / fitting as opposed to operating. Fixed plant operators work in heavy industry, energy and mining to safely operate and control a certain function of an industrial plant. This can also include minor repairs and maintenance often working closely with maintenance and commissioning teams.

If you are into working with your hands, head down to Q8/.

7/ Choose an Operating Machinery field

To help you decide your preferred path to operating machinery here is a quick run down. Remember, as with all industries there are certain differences in occupations. Some are more monotonous, some require a sharper hand eye co-ordination and some require a faster and more aware mindset. Some will take longer to break into than others and longer to climb the ladder, as many machines you will be operating can be worth well over the million dollar mark.

Mobile Plant Operators (Above Ground) are required in civil construction, quarries, surface mining, warehouses, stockpiling operations and many more. Mobile Plant Operators generally have signed off competencies, so you will be judged on a theory exam at first and then over time gain experience before being finally signed off. Depending on how quick of a learner you are, whether you can RPL (recognition of prior learning) and how comfortable you are at operating machinery will determine when you’re given your competency. Like most things, different machines require different skill sets.

Becoming a Mobile Plant Operator for a civil construction company can be a good stepping-stone into operating mining machinery, if that is what you are ultimately after. As an example to help you narrow down what you would prefer to operate day in day out, operating a roller on a civil construction site is more monotonous than operating a grader. Your awareness needs to be greater to trim the grades of the grounds surface to the exact angle required, compared to that of the roller which needs to drive up and back over the area that requires compaction. There is a long list of Mobile Plant Operators with varying opportunities from Crane Operators to the much talked about Haul Truck Drivers, it all depends what you are suited to and would prefer.

Sound like you? Check out the Mobile Plant Operator (Above Ground) list in our Occupations List to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Underground Operators purely operate in underground mining sites. Underground miners are usually paid well and are on family friendly shifts. If you want to be an underground miner you will usually start off as a Nipper (‘fetch this, do that’ worker). Underground mining operators use competencies so you will be judged on a theory exam at first and then over time you will gain experience and get signed off. Depending on how quick of a learner you are and how comfortable you are operating machinery will usually determine when you’re given your competency. Like most things, different machines require different skill sets.

Sound like you? Check out the Underground Mining list in the Occupations List  document to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Oil and Gas Exploration / Production Drillers operate drill rigs, cranes and front-end loaders / telehandlers on drill sites. Drillers usually receive good pay and because most sites are remote they will require DIDO or FIFO shift work, normally 2 weeks on 2 weeks off or more. Offshore drilling is really hard to break into, gaining onshore drill rig experience is an easier path. Drill operators require theory exams and practical on the job training to achieve their qualifications.

Sound like you? Check out the Drilling Onshore (Exploration and Mining)  and Drilling Offshore  lists in the Occupations List  document to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Once you have read through the Occupations list choose your top 3 Machinery Operator preferences

1/__________________

2/__________________

3/__________________

 

8/ Work with your hands – Trade / Skilled / Labourer

To help you decide your preferred path to ‘working with your hands’, here is a quick run down. As with all industries there are certain differences in occupations, some require a more mechanical mindset, some require a higher ability to work with your hands, some require a higher level of technical thinking and others require a greater awareness for yourself and others.

Trades are in higher demand than skilled and unskilled labourers. A tradesperson will be paid more than both skilled and unskilled labourers that are in the same industry. To be a tradesperson you need to complete an apprenticeship, which can take up to 5 years, depending on the occupation. This will generally include completing competencies at a TAFE college to gain knowledge of the trade. As a general rule, tradies will require a higher level of technical thinking, ability to work with their hands and a greater awareness than skilled labourers and labourers require.

Note: Is the length of an Apprenticeship a realistic time period for you?

Sound like you? Check out the Trades list of Occupations in the Occupations List document to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Skilled Labourers are in higher demand than unskilled labourers. A skilled labourer is usually paid a pretty decent wage, compared to a tradesperson around the 80-85% mark within the same industry. Many skilled labourers training courses can also take less than a week to complete. But, like everything the experience will take longer. As a general rule, a skilled labourer still requires a reasonable level of awareness, a reasonable level of technical thinking and a reasonable ability to work with their hands.

Note: Does the reduced time that it takes to become qualified suit you better compared to that of a tradie? Does the slight pay difference and the more secure qualification between the two, tradesperson & skilled labourer have an effect on your decision?

Sound like you? Check out the Skilled Labourers list of Occupations in the Occupations List to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Labourers are normally the first to be thrown on the chopping board when projects are coming to an end or companies budgets get tightened. With that being said labourers are always going to be used, not for the technical side of things but for the more manual tasks that still require a level of awareness and ability to work with your hands. On mining and construction sites labourers are often utilised for the cleaning of the worksite and trade assistant roles. On certain sites labourers can still fetch around the 65-80% of a tradespersons pay rate. There aren’t any courses you need to complete to be a labourer, you just need to have a general common sense about you, good hand skills and the ability to follow instructions.

Sound like you? Check out the Labourers list of Occupations in the Occupations List  to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Fixed Plant Operators work in the energy, infrastructure, heavy and mining industries to safely operate and control a certain function of a plant. The pay is generally pretty good and the shifts are more often family friendly. Depending on which industry you’re looking to break into will determine how much training and experience you’ll need. Most fixed plant operators are required to do onsite training to achieve the competencies required to work on a functioning industrial plant (plant / refineries / mines etc.) Good news, often it’s paid for by the company, which will save you some dollars in the long run. Fixed Plant Operators require a fairly high level of technical thinking, a high level of awareness and a reasonable ability to work with their hands.

Sound like you? Check out the Fixed Plant Operators list of Occupations in the Occupations List to determine the Occupation you want to focus on.

Read through the Occupations List and choose your top 3 working with your hands preferences.

1/___________________

2/___________________

3/___________________

 

Industry Questions

You have just chosen the top 3 Occupations that you would like to pursue. So the next is to work out the top 3 preferred Industries you would like to apply your Occupation to.

Note: Remember to refer to the demand tables in the Occupation List  to help you determine the path of least resistance to getting a start across the different Industries, for your chosen Occupations.

 

9/ Which Industry do you want to work in?

Mining – The big one, mining. This is the catch phrase word of the resources industry, so when you break it down, what exactly is it? The Mining Industry is made up of 3 different types – open cut, underground coal and underground hard rock. The purpose of mining is to extract mineral ore from the ground. When the mineral ore deposit is deep below the earth’s surface, underground mining techniques are used more often, due to the sheer amount of overburden that would need to be removed in open cut mining. Once removed from the earth, most coal mines have a wash plant facility to clean the coal before it is sold to market. Where as most other mines (Metalliferous), for example gold have a separation process facility to separate the gold from the rock, often called leaching.

Generally speaking most mines are in remote locations, making it hard to land a mining position if you don’t want to relocate or FIFO. With that being said there are some mines close enough to major cities around Australia. The Hunter Valley is a hub in NSW for Coal mines and it’s around 1 hr drive west of Newcastle. A lot of Mines in the Bowen Basin are 1-2 hrs drive from Mackay in Central Queensland. There are also mines just south of Perth in Western Australia. So it is possible to score mining positions close to home, but the waiting list is especially long for these roles, so you have to work hard to get your foot in. Mining roles generally have a family friendly roster 7 days on 7 days off, 14 days on 14 days off, 14 days on 7 days off, 10 days on 4 days and the pay is exceptionally good for the hours you do at work.

Sound like the Industry you’d like to work in? Rank it below.

Heavy Industry – As a really broad but pretty accurate generalisation, Heavy Industry is the next step down the line from a mine site. Generally being high capital costing business that requires more advanced facilities for processing of a commodity, product or material to lead to into a usable or transportable form. There are many different types of heavy industries in Australia – Ports and Wharves, Treatment Plants, Processing Plants, Refineries, Smelters, Manufacturing Plants, Fabrication Workshops and Heavy Engineering Workshops. As a general rule, most heavy industry rosters depend on the situation and urgency the company has for the product. For example, if you worked in a Engineering Workshop that supplied and repair products for a refinery during a shutdown, you could be working long hours, 12 hr days for weeks on end until the shutdown is over. If you worked in the same industry and it was quiet, you may be working 8 hr days 5 days a week. Again, generally speaking the pay is reasonably good and the hours worked gives you time everyday to spend time with your family and friends.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in? Rank it below.

Energy – The Energy Industry is made up of many different types of energies and functions, including production and sale of energy, fuel extraction both oil and gas, manufacturing, refining and distribution. In Australia some of the types of energy industry are Power Stations, Power Distribution systems, Power Transmission systems, Oil / Gas drilling and exploration rigs (onshore), Oil / Gas drilling and exploration rigs (offshore) and Oil / Gas processing plants and refineries.

The rosters worked in this industry vary heavily but are somewhere in between that of mining and heavy industry, depending again on the site or project. Some types of work such as oil & gas exploration and production will most likely have the even time rosters similar to that of mining, as they are normally in remote locations. Power Stations, Power Transmission and Distribution generally have the standard 40-50 hr week, 5 x 10hr days each week and hopefully an RDO (rostered day off) every second week, giving you a long 3 day weekend every 2nd weekend. In the Energy Industry the pay is comparable to that of mining and heavy industry, depending on which company you work for. Step foot offshore and it generally increases again.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in?  Rank it below.

Infrastructure – The Infrastructure Industry is the structures, services and facilities essential to sustain and enhance our societies living conditions. Infrastructure is made up of Bridges, Tunnels, Water Supply, Waste Treatment, Hospitals, Airports and Roads. Generally speaking, working in the Infrastructure industry you will be in the middle of the pay scale, unless you are working on a construction site. As this type of industry is local, and doesn’t make lucrative money itself (or is owned by the public sector / government), it’s hard to pass the coin on to the workers. With that being said, the infrastructure industry is a great way to get paid well, stay local and or gain the experience necessary to get your foot into the next level. The rosters are generally 40-50 hour weeks, working 5 days a week and having the standard 2 day weekend.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in?  Rank it below.

Agriculture – The Agriculture Industry refers to the cultivation of livestock, plants, crops and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture is made up of irrigation, transportation, farm machinery, and cultivation of animals and foods. Generally speaking, working in the agriculture industry requires a larger amount of hours each week and depending on your employer, around the lower to middle on the pay scale. You could almost say that Agriculture is a lifestyle / culture job. A lot of people love working on the land because it brings a high level of satisfaction and relaxation. Experience operating large farming machinery can be looked upon favourably by Civil and Mining Employers.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in?  Rank it below.

Commercial – The Commercial Industry is made up of businesses involved in the large scale buying and selling of products. The commercial industry is local and in all regions around Australia. Commercial buildings are office, warehouses or the shops we buy our groceries and furniture from etc. If you want to work in the commercial industry you will be repairing, maintaining and servicing existing equipment and buildings or working on the construction of new buildings. The commercial industry is in the lower to middle of the pay scale, similar to that of domestic workers and you will most likely work 5 days a week, 8 to 10 hrs a day.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in?  Rank it below.

Domestic – The Domestic Industry is made up of businesses involved in the service and building of homes, sheds and dwellings. Working in the domestic industry, you’ll be working in, on or around peoples properties, mainly working on sheds, houses, pools and landscaping yards. The domestic industry is very similar to the commercial and often will cross over, so the pays and hours are similar, with normal working hours 5 days a week, 8 to 10 hrs a day and in the lower to middle of the pay scale.

Sound like the industry you’d like to work in?  Rank it below.

Industry Q9/

1/__________________

2/__________________

3/__________________

 

Types of Work Questions

You are getting there now. You should begin to have a really firm grasp of your preferences and the opportunities that are available out there to you. Lastly, we break it down one step further from the Industry to the Types of Work you would like to perform within your industry.

Note: Remember to refer to the demand tables in the Occupation List document to help you determine the path of least resistance to getting a start across the different Types of Work, for your chosen Occupations.

 

10/ What types of work would you prefer perform?

Operations / Production / Process – This type of work is performed most commonly in the Mining, Heavy Industry, Energy and Oil & Gas sectors. For a Mining site you are looking at Haul Truck Drivers, Dozer Operators, Grade Operators, Water Cart Operators, Shovel Operators, Dragline Operators and often others performing the bulk earth and mineral movement operations. The basic aim for these occupations is to get the product / ore / mineral from the earth to the processing plant. Much of the work is actually ancillary to this, in the construction and maintenance of road, removing the overburden and generally managing the site. For the Heavy Industry, Energy, Oil & Gas sectors, Fixed Plant Operators and Control Room Operators monitor and control processes of plant, to ensure it is operating safely, at its best efficiency and without any malfunctions. Operations team in all industries often work with maintenance trades teams to repair / maintain / fault find equipment. Because of this they will gain extensive mechanical and electrical knowledge. Standard daily tasks as an operator can include collecting and analysing samples of the process, cleaning, lubricating and repairing equipment, responding to emergencies – fire, environmental and injuries. Also working in with shut downs and run up of plant in times of emergency, planned maintenance and equipment malfunction. Operators are often also responsible for the safe issuing and monitoring of isolation permits, confined space entry permits and permits to work for all trades, labourers and contractors working on live and isolated plant and equipment. In these situations there is a major focus on safety as there can be many different hazards in the workplace ranging from – temperature, noise, chemical, mechanical, ergonomics, pressure, working from heights and many more. Generally the rosters are family friendly and pay quite well. Night shift and split day / night shifts can be quite common as operations are more often than not 24 hrs a day. Expect shifts like – 5 on / 4 off, 2 days on / 2 nights on / 5 days off, 4 days on / 6 days off, 7 days on / 7 days off. With these rosters you will be expected to work between an 8 and 12 hour day.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform? Rank it below.

Drilling, Blasting and Exploration This type of work is performed in most commonly in the Mining, Energy and Oil & Gas sectors. Drilling, Blasting and Exploration in Energy, Oil & Gas exploration and production Within this type of work there are many different workers including Tradespersons, Skilled Labourers, Mobile Plant Operators and Oil & Gas drillers. Tradies will work between all the Drill rigs to ensure no equipment malfunctions, and if a malfunction occurs, faultfinding and repairs are performed to the strict Hazardous Area Code. Equipment that requires attention from tradies includes diesel generators, power distribution, lighting, plugs, leads, vibrators, pumps and hydraulics. Skilled Labourers that work on drill rigs are generally riggers and doggers and generally have the opportunity to climb the ladder and become a derrickman or drillers over time. Mobile Plant Operators are used to prepare the drill site, it may need levelling, pit construction and cleaning up. Graders, HC truck operator, Water Cart Truck, Excavator and Rollers are all normally required to set up a drill site.
Once the site has been handed over and drilling is underway cranes are used to relocate and install heavy equipment around the drill site and also to install and remove casing, tubing and fishing out down the hole. There is also a need for Front-end Loader / Telehandlers to load casing/tubing onto the drill rig for use. Water Cart Trucks to remove and top up down hole flushing water.
Drilling Crew set-up the drill rig, operate the drill rig, dismantle the rig and move off site after the well is complete. There is a hierarchy of workers from Roustabouts to Senior Drillers and all positions have different roles, responsibilities and daily tasks from maintaining, cleaning, fire watch, downhole drill depth and position, earth core sampling and safely shutting in well and control of permits to ensure safe working practices and work environment.

Drilling, Blasting and Exploration in Mining There are 2 types of Drillers within mining applications, blast hole and grade control.
Grade Control does the fine-tuning of the ore boundaries and grade/tonnage so the Engineers can assess where they need the blasting coordinates and depths. Blast Hole Drillers are used to drill to a depth in which an explosive shot will be charged and blasted to free up rock from an ore body deposit for mining. The Shotfirer is in charge of the loading, detonation and safe working practices of the crew and the MMU operator after the explosives are transported to the blast site. Blast Hole Driller’s work around the clock on the same rosters that the mine workers are on, both nightshift and days. MMU operators and Shotfirers also work shift rosters, but generally only on day shift.

All workers are trained to respond to emergencies such as fire, environmental and injuries to workers. If you want to work within drilling, blasting and exploration you will most likely work 12 hour days and possibly on day or night shift. As these types of work are in remote locations rosters like 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, 2 weeks on 1 week off, 3 weeks on 2 weeks off are the norm.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform?  Rank it below.

Maintenance – Maintenance is on everything in one form or another, so is an option for all industries across the board. Labourers, Skilled Labourers, Tradies and a small variety of Mobile Plant Operators will all work alongside. Fixed Plant Operators. Labourers are generally used to clean the site and for manual tasks or assistance. For example a task may include, cleaning up spills of coal around the tail of the conveyor system or work as a trades assistant. Skilled Labourers will generally stick to their field of work as Riggers, Doggers, Scaffolders, Sandblasters and Tyre Fitters or the like, depending on the site and daily requirements. Tradespersons are used when specialty work is required, fault finding, repair work, fitting new equipment, fitting new parts to existing equipment and preventative maintenance to equipment and process plant. Sites vary in needs and may require more Diesel Fitters or Electricians for example due to the use of certain machines and equipment in use. A small variety of Mobile Plant Operators are required, usually Crane Operators, Skid Steer Loaders, Forklift operators, Elevated Work Platform (EWP) Operators and HR, HC Truck Drivers. Maintenance workers are generally paid fairly well but the pay can differ substantially from industry to industry. As required you may also be needed to work over time here and there, fill in for a shift worker or be on permanent shift work (this may include nights) depending on the site. The rosters are normally 5 days a week with 2 days off, and 8 – 12 hour days. You may jag a site with a monthly, fortnightly or weekly RDO (rostered day off). Also on some sites you can expect shifts like – 5 days on 4 days off, 2 days on 2 nights on 5 off, 4 days on 6 days off, 7 days on 7 days off, with all these roster you will be expected to work between an 8 and 12 hour day.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform?  Rank it below.

Construction work can be broken down into 2 categories, Civil Construction and Constructing Plants / Refineries / Buildings (facilities). They are often intertwined as Civil Construction is generally the step before Constructing Plants / Refineries / Buildings (facilities) on many sites.

Constructing Plants / Refineries / Buildings (facilities) This field of work mostly requires Labourers, Skilled Labourers, Tradies and a small variety of Mobile Plant Operators. Labourers are used for the less technical tasks such as – cleaning and trade assisting. Skilled Labourers such as Dogman (Doggers), Riggers, Scaffolders, stick to their line of work but also cross over as a Trade’s Assistant if required. Crane Operators are used to relocate, lift, place, install and remove heavy equipment and parts. A small variety of Mobile Plant Operators are required in day to day tasks on construction sites, these are Crane Drivers, Forklift Operators, EWP Operators, Skid Steer Loader Operators, Truck Drivers and Excavator Operators. Construction companies generally require workers to work long stints (rosters) and in a lot of cases in remote locations with camp accommodation. Rosters can be as hard as 4 weeks on 1 week off (or more, much more sometimes, but generally at your choice.) with 6 days a week and a pyjama day every week. With the risk management and fatigue management systems that companies now have in place, days hours worked/ day have reduced to 10-12 hour days. If you’re lucky enough to land a start on a local construction project rosters can change and are usually 6 x 10 hr days / wk, 6 x 12 hr days / wk, 13 on / 1 off, 10 / 12 hrs a day. On construction sites there is a high degree of hazards as there is so many different types of works going on in one area. Management coordination and workers awareness to others is a must with people working above, below and beside one another. Generally speaking construction companies offer great money and it is a great way to get ahead, with that being said it’s not all smiles. Construction workers have the highest rate of suicides and marriage breakups of all the Blue Collar Fields. Workers can get trapped in construction roles, the high income can be easy to become accustomed to and hard to give up. Whatever choice you make, you always need to run it past your family to see how everyone will cope with you being away.

Civil Construction – Civil Construction is widespread across the board except for obviously Offshore work. With civil construction the occupations required are the opposite for the demand for Constructing Plants / Refineries / Buildings (facilities) with a wider range of Mobile Plants Operators and less skilled Labourers and Trades, although some are still required. Labourers are utilised for physical tasks, such as spotting, digging and the use of handheld equipment. A small variety of Tradespersons are used to fault find, repair and maintain mobile plant equipment. All Mobile Plant Operators are required in day-to-day tasks in civil construction sites. – Dozers, Graders, Scrapers, Rollers, Dump Trucks, Water Cart Trucks, Excavators etc, varying in scale and quantity pending the job. Tasks include removing overburden to level and constructing bunding / dams, filling the site to bring it up to a certain level, grading the ground, compacting and trenching. The rosters for civil construction are very similar to Constructing Plants / Refineries / Buildings (facilities) with long stints at work 4 weeks on / 1 week off, 3 weeks on /1 week off, 5 weeks on / 2 weeks off. Please note there is generally a day or two off during your stint on site, often called a pyjama or rest day. Again, If you’re lucky enough to land a start on a local construction project rosters can change and are usually 6 x 10 hr days / wk, 6 x 12 hr days / wk, 13 on / 1 off, 10/12 hrs a day.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform? Rank it below.

Shutdowns – A Shutdown is a section of plant, site or equipment that is turn off and removed from service to do maintenance, new installations and upgrades. Skilled workers are used in shutdowns with Skilled Labourers, Tradies, Fixed Plant Operators and a small variety of Mobile Plant Operators utilised also. Skilled Labourers are generally Scaffolders, Riggers and Doggers.
Tradespersons are involved in faultfinding, maintain, repairing plant equipment and installation of new equipment that couldn’t be fixed while the plant was online. Operators ensure equipment is isolated and safe for teams to work and call back on isolation if the scope of the shutdown needs to change. They are also heavily involved in returning the plant, site or equipment into service after working with the Tradespersons to test (commission) all is ready to go. A small variety of Mobile Plant Operators – Forklift, EWP, Cranes, Trucks, Skid Steer Loader may possibly also get a start. Depending on the scope of works and size of the plant, hours worker and duration of shutdown differs, you will normally work 10-12 hour days and 13 days on 1 day off or 6 days a week until your section of the scope of work is complete. As with construction, process and maintenance there is a high level of hazards, due to the high number of workers in close quarters. Coordination amongst management and workers is a must to ensure a safe and productive workplace.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform? Rank it below.

Project and Capital works are pretty much smaller scale construction and bolt-on/add-on jobs, which require Skilled Labourers, Tradespersons and a small variety of Mobile Plant Operators. Some Projects and Capital Works require civil construction before the infrastructure construction begins and some will be in the middle of a worksite where the civil works has already been completed. The rosters and hours worked each day varies depending on the urgency of the project and the size, varying between that of maintenance and construction rosters.

Sound like the type of work you’d like to perform?  Rank it below.

Select the 3 Types of work you’d preferred

1/__________________

2/__________________

3/__________________

 

Making it Happen

Now you have your answers.

You have a target, now you can aim. Here is how to think of your rankings:

#1 – These are your ultimate career goals.

#2 – These are your stepping-stones or possibly a happy second option.

#3 – These are your entry points, what you are willing to do to get your start.

The answers above should give you a clear target of exactly what it is you want out of the resources industry. It should also provide you with flexible options as entry points, back-up plans and stepping-stones to getting you there.

So what we do next is guide you to getting yourself there.

 

Stepping it out

Now that you have a list of Lifestyle, Occupation, Industry and Type of Work options in front of you, it is time to get you there. So let’s step it out.

Step 1/ Double check your options.

So you have determined what your preferred options are, let’s double check that they line up with reality of what you are willing to do and what is currently out there. To do this you can first visit our Occupation& Demands List again, and then you’ll need to step into the real world and do some leg work.

Head online to the major search engines, SEEK etc. And if you are interested you can sign up for Cribhut Premium and follow Job Watch.

What you do now is search for jobs that line up with your above options, don’t go applying just yet, but take note and answer the below questions for yourself.

  • Are there any jobs available within your Lifestyle Options?
  • Are you really willing to relocate, DIDO, FIFO and or work the rosters that are offered for the conditions and money that are currently on offer?
  • Are there many opportunities available to you within your scope of preferred options and locations?
  • Are you really willing to put in the time, effort and cash to get yourself qualified and experienced?
  • Can you pass a Drug and Alcohol test?

YES to all of the above? Okay, let’s keep going.

NO to any of the above? Don’t lose heart. If it all seems too much, adjust your options by reviewing the questions and answers and find a comfortable medium that keeps you motivated and is within reach.

Note: By now you are probably busting to get out there and pay for some courses, qualifications etc to get yourself rolling and skilled up. Hold off a bit, you might just save yourself some coin.

 

Step 2/ Study up. Preparation.

Righto, now you know what you want to do and that you are willing to do what it takes to get it. You’ll have a pretty good understanding of your new career requirements from reading through Job Advertisements, so the next step is to get yourself a slightly deeper knowledge base. The more you know, the better prepared you are, the easier the whole process will be and the more seriously an employer will take you. Remember this rule, if you care, the more likely they are to care.

Next, Google your chosen Occupation, Locations, Mines, Projects, Sites, Possible Employers and anything else about your chosen fields, the process of the plants, mines etc. Also do a search through Wikipedia and Google Images to go even deeper and to get a visual of the specific plant and machinery you may be working on and around.

Between your Questionnaire, looking through Job Adverts and Studying up you should have a fairly good idea of the courses that are applicable to your career path. Now is probably a good time to get familiar with these qualifications, the costs, time, availability and proximity to your location.

Note: Cribhut Premium members get discounted course via our training partners here.

Spend an hour or two, or even more to give yourself a thorough understanding of your new career. In the next step you will be glad you did and will get an even deeper knowledge of your new career, whilst you are putting your feelers out.

 

Step 3/ Put your feelers out. Opportunities

You have probably heard people saying ‘It’s who you know, that’s how you get a start etc etc.’ Well… to a certain degree it is true. Put it this way, it doesn’t hurt. And when you think about it, it does make sense. Would you leave your child, car, house or bike with someone you didn’t know? Probably not, you would want to meet them first to see if you could build up your trust in them.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of luck if you don’t know someone, just… get to know people. Ask Around. If you’re having problems finding out information about what’s involved with certain jobs. Find somebody that has ‘been there and done that’. Ask your mates, family, friends, facebook friends, an old boss or neighbour. DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB, YET. Just let your intentions be known and start asking questions for now.

Ring Employers and speak with 5 different recruiters or companies that are advertising for the career you have chosen. When you talk to the HR (Human Resources) staff DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB, YET. Instead just be enthusiastic, keen, eager, ask questions and most importantly listen. Explain to them what it is that you are looking to do, that one day it is your goal to work with their company and ask questions about what sort of experience they look for in job applicants. Now you are getting the correct, specific information right from the horse’s mouth, whilst building a relationship. Also ask if there are any specific courses/qualifications they look for? This shows your keen, willing to work for it and you don’t expect things to be handed to you. This next one is huge. WRITE DOWN THEIR NAME. Don’t gloss over this one, everyone’s name is there favourite word. This will come in handy in the next step.

Unions. Don’t know anyone? The unions do, get to know them. Unions can be a controversial subject. The way the media portrays the hard approach of some union actions can be seen have as a negative. What is rarely shown is the bright side of a united and safe workforce, and that most union officials genuinely care about their colleagues lives. No matter your opinions the Unions are a great place to start if you want to talk to somebody that knows the occupation and the industry. Union reps have the local knowledge of who’s hiring and firing, where the next projects are coming up, the best projects to get onto, helpful hints to break in and all sorts of things. If you’re looking to break into a mining, energy or heavy industry it is worth having a chat with a Union Rep. We are not saying you should necessarily join up straight away. Especially if you don’t have a start yet, but get in touch, have a chat and let your intentions be known. If it works for you suggest that you’d be willing to sign up when you are in the work force and then decide for yourself.

To help find a union relevant to you – http://www.cribhutdaily.com.au/jobs/unions/

Build your circle, keep your contact details, be patient, ask questions and take notes. By now you probably know more about your industry than your competition, so you are prepared and have started creating opportunities for yourself. Next we just bring it all together.

 

Step 4/ Bring it all together.

So now you know what you want, all about your new career, you have some contacts and you have a strong understanding of what courses and experience your potential employers need you to have to give you a start. So now it’s just a matter of making the final decision and finishing your preparation.

From your decisions, research, discussions and personal budget decide which qualifications and experience to gain for yourself and which ones a potential employer may be willing to do. Then go out complete them and update your resume.

Whilst at any course, show interest, be keen and build relationships. This is the kind of place where you can get lucky. If you meet people that could possibly help you out or just have experience in your field, offer to shout them a beer and have a chat afterwards or follow up with a phone call.

Gaining Experience. If you are still struggling with the ‘Must Have Experience’ catch, don’t despair. We understand you are frustrated, the ol ‘How do you get experience if they won’t give you any?’ annoys everyone.

Revisit the ‘Career Change Questions – Q4/ -Q5c/ in the Questionnaire for tips on how to work your way in. For this you have to think outside the box, start small, make some sacrifices and most importantly ‘Get to know people.’

Now your resume should really be beginning to look like an Employers Job description and you may be getting your foot in the door for a few interviews.

You are getting close, now we just need to make sure you are ‘Selling yourself’ well to turn all of your preparations and opportunities into that lucky start and in turn, those mighty $$$.

 

Step 5/ Selling yourself.

Apart from your initial phone calls, often your resume is your first chance to ‘sell yourself’ to an employer. All of the important aspects of a resume need to jump out to HR Staff otherwise there is a chance your resume will be ignored. Here’s some tips:

  • Don’t take short cuts.
  • Check your spelling.
  • Be clear and to the point.
  • Include all relevant information.

Often recruiters are swamped with applications and will take only a 10 seconds look over your resume. If you fail to capture their attention or make their life hard, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on the job. So make sure you haven’t been lazy in creating it. Send what you would like to receive.

Remember you are dealing with a Human not a Company. Remember that time ‘you lost it’ at the telephone helpdesk person because someone else in their company had made a mistake with your account? They weren’t very helpful after that, were they? We’ve all been there, the key lesson is to remember you are dealing with a human. Yep, you guessed it. This is why we said to WRITE DOWN THEIR NAME. You are now looking for a start and if you have built a relationship with a recruiter, know their name and they now know yours, when you apply for a job with your fully completed resume and follow up with a friendly phone call, your odds are ever increasing.

Here is another tip along this line – When applicable address your application to the HR Staff member that is doing the recruiting for the role you’re applying for. Call the Company Branch and ask the receptionist to whom you should be sending and addressing your CV to. (Ask politely, receptionists are commonly called gatekeepers because information of staff members is not given out lightly).

Work Experience / History Relevant to job application – This section is huge. You went to all of the trouble to gain experience in your field, make sure you show it off. You may know you have the experience but the employers don’t. Don’t assume the a recruiter properly understands your occupation and ‘can read between the lines,’ often they are looking for keywords and may not now specific, so again remember to be clear and detailed.

If you have held several jobs over a short period of time, explain why you have ‘jumped ship’. Some Employers frown upon workers who jump ship for a couple of dollars a week, so create a good reason if need be.

Make sure your Tickets / Licences / Qualifications are in date! They can’t hire you in most instances if one of your tickets is expired. And when you provide your tickets make sure they are scanned in colour and uploaded for them to be sent with your application. This is another big one. Employers often need these before they can employ you, so save the recruiters some time and effort by not needing to chase you up. Making their job easier might just land you a job.

Note: Cribhut Premium provides members with their own Ticket Manager and expiry alert system here.

And finally ensure that your resume all of your references have their full name, position title and if possible two points of contact, both email and phone. Also, make sure your references know they might be receiving a call from an employer, this way it’s fast and great to have a reference that remembers who you are straight away.

Note: Cribhut Premium provides members with their own Resume Manager here.

 

Step 6/ You’re In, Persist or Try Again.

Now you will be at one of 3 stages:

1/ Hopefully you now have your foot in the door, even if it is just slightly. Not your ideal job, but heading up the garden path to it. We don’t need to tell you this, but do your time, work hard, prove your worth your salt, gain further experience, jump at promotions and keep building your relationships, it may take you years to get to your ‘Holy Grail’, but if you are hungry for it you’ll get there. One other tip on your way through, try not to whinge! You won’t get anywhere and won’t make any friends. Be patient, and if you hit dead ends, take it in your stride and get back on your horse.

2/ Getting close, having interviews, not quite making it or just missing out – you need to hang in there. Focus and persist, you are obviously on the right track and at that stage where it is just about to happen. Continue to do more of the same, make small adjustments where necessary and it’ll happen for you. We have spoken to people who applied for over 200 jobs, but they got their start. For everyone at Cribhut it personally took years from apprenticeships and onwards, we have all had our dry spells and driven across the country to get a start, paid for numerous courses off our own backs, given up partners B’days, big events, holidays, flown out two days after getting engaged for 10 weeks of work straight, that kind of thing. But it gets you in there and pays well, so keep persisting if it’s what you want. Work and refine through Steps/ 2 – 5.

3/ You are not getting anywhere and are about to give up. This is where you should probably go through this post again. From what you have learnt, reassess whether you actually are willing to make it happen? Are you trying to jump too far up the ladder, too soon? Is there the demand for your Occupation, Industry and Type of Work in your location. Really? Or are you hoping? Be honest with yourself, we understand it is hard work and frustrating and you may not want to start at the bottom after you have already been there within a past career. Either way you are going to have to get over it. It’s a pretty simple process as we said but we never said it was easy. So chin up, have another think and get cracking.

 

Congrats, You have a Job in the Mines (or Resource Industry)

If you have now landed a new gig, congrats, welcome to the resource industry. Well done it’s a bit of mission isn’t it.

All the best with your new career and take care of yourself and your mates out there.

Disclaimer: Cribhut Group is not an employer or recruiter for the above mentioned site, this article is provided for information purposes only.  Cribhut provides this information with the best intentions, but purely as a guide.  Like most things in life, there are no guarantees.  Your lively hood is your own responsibility and even if following the above recommendations, it is still up to you to do your own research, to be patient, persistent and put in the hard work.  

Photo Credit (daily sunny)

Cheers!

The team at Cribhut

 

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