Busting the job myth on mining

For almost ten years, there have been stories of people getting jobs at the mines and making quick bucks – all with no experience.

There are many mining job advertisements which say experience is not required.

The Gladstone Observer asked whether this is just an urban myth or whether mining really is a way to get rich, fast.

Senior regional director from recruiting giant Hays Simon Bristow said the idea was a myth rather than reality, and said a solid professional background is what brings good jobs in the industry.

But he added there are still opportunities out there for people trying to capitalise on mining jobs.

“I think there is some truth in it, in that if you are prepared to move to the Bowen Basin, for example, you will get a job,” he said.

To do this, people must look outside the square, Bristow said. This means people must look at all opportunities in mining communities, since mines influence economic activity in that area.

For example, workers without experience on a mine site can still enter the industry through lower positions, if they have transferable skills from other industries like civil construction.

But if people want the top jobs with big pay packets in the mines, Bristow said experience was the crucial.

“Most mining companies are going to look for two years’ experience,” he said.

Get a Mining Job co-founder Myles Walder agrees with Bristow about transferable skills and said skills from other industries can come in handy.

A common mining job for a worker with construction experience is to become a tradesman’s assistant.

Walder and a couple of his friends founded the Get a Mining Job website to offer free information and advice for people trying to crack into the industry.

Its founders run it as volunteers, while working in the mines for their day jobs. Walder is a safety training provider.

He said people have to work their way up and should not expect to walk into a $150K-a-year job without prior experience and professional qualification.

“It depends what you want to do (at the mines),” he said.

“The biggest part of the myth is that people think you can just go out and get a great job (instantly).”

He advised inexperienced workers to narrow down what they are looking for. They should pick a particular field and try to break into that field.

He said focus on a particular field will help workers learn more about what is required for those jobs and adapt themselves to suit those requirements.

He compared breaking into the mining field to using a jackhammer: if you use it all over a wall, you will not progress much. But if you use it incessantly on one position, you will eventually break through.

Walder’s other piece of advice was for potential workers to think not only about the money but also their families and social lives.

He warned mine fields could get lonely – and money could not necessarily fill that void.

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