Addressing the ‘no experience’ conundrum for mining jobs

You’ve heard the old saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.

The prevailing opinion of many jobseekers struggling to break into the resource industry is you must know someone already working in mining to get a job.

While that may have been true in the past, things have changed dramatically in recent times.

The ‘no experience’ conundrum

The most frequently asked questions we receive at Mining Oil and Gas Jobs concern how to get that first job.

A candidate can't gain experience until given a chance, but nobody will employ an inexperienced candidate.

One way is through more apprenticeship and traineeship programs. Australian Mining reported on Rio Tinto’s plans to double their training programs.

Graduate programs have been boosted right through the industry and industry associations are working hard to meet the demand for more training.

While this is great news, it doesn’t address the immediate need for skilled workers.

Many mining companies are looking to complementary industries for their staffing needs.

Transferable skills

Julianne van Kessel, People & Culture Senior Advisor at OZ Minerals, is one hiring manager looking in new places.

“OZ Minerals employs many people from other industries and not just mining."

"With many of our support and trade roles we consider people from a manufacturing, construction or any heavy industry background.”

Another person supporting this change in staffing habits is Skye Britton, HR Administrator at ROCK Australia Mining + Civil.

“We take a lot of people who come from a general labour background whether it is civil, bricklayers, farm hands or factory workers."

“We generally need people who have an HR licence, forklift licence, working at heights, EWP (elevated work platform) and similar qualifications,” explains Ms. Britton.

“These kinds of people generally have the tickets or experience around the kind of machinery used in mining operations.”

Taking a different approach

Even with all the appropriate tickets and licences, many people struggle to get that first foot in the door.

One tactic that has worked for many jobseekers is to take a job that doesn’t require skilled training at all.

Kyla Jones, Site Director at Mining Oil and Gas Jobs advises the best way to get your start is to take a job many workers wouldn’t classify as a traditional ‘mining job’.

“Those types of roles are things like domestic cleaning with site services, gardeners, baggage handlers and bus drivers.” Ms. Jones continues, “You can earn around about $70,000 in a fly-in, fly-out situation.”

If this doesn’t sound like what you had in mind, the biggest benefit to these service jobs might well be getting to know people already in the industry.

“Once you’re in there, then there’s an opportunity to up-skill, retrain and get to know people,“ explains Ms. Jones.

The importance of persistence

Without a doubt, finding the first opportunity can be the hardest for someone wanting a mining career.

Persist in your job search and consider different avenues for entry.

Anyone with a positive mindset and a flexible attitude is going to be attractive to employers.

Would you consider taking an unskilled role just to break in to mining?

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This post originally featured on the Mining Oil and Gas Jobs blog.

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