No experience, no worries – mining wants you

Roy Hill is giving people with no previous mining experience a chance. Image: Roy Hill

Having no experience in mining used to be a barrier for people trying to break into the industry.

This is no longer the case, according to recruitment company Hays.

With skills shortages emerging following the improvement in market conditions, Hays is finding that mining companies are willing to employ candidates that do not have previous experience in the industry.

However, there is a catch, as it is preferred that candidates have professional experience in a similar industry that faces comparable challenges to mining, Hays Resources & Mining WA state regional director Chris Kent told Australian Mining.

“They want new ideas so they are particularly interested in candidates without mining experience that bring other skills, so it is not necessarily (candidates) without professional experience,” Kent said.

“They might have experience in another sector, whether it be oil and gas or manufacturing, or another sector that has some similar challenges.”

Iron ore miner Roy Hill is leading the way in pursuing candidates without previous mining experience by instead basing its human resources strategy around complementary values and attributes.

On its website, Roy Hill states it will nurture its rookie mine workers “through support, training and learning” to find a suitable position for them at the company.

Kent said the trade-off to employing candidates with no previous experience was that it created more roles for temporary or contract workers.

“Those people that come into the industry without experience need to be trained and mentored so it is meaning that you couldn’t have a strategy solely looking at people without experience without balancing it out by bringing in experience on a contract or casual basis to skill it up,” Kent said.

“It’s fair to say that (recruitment) agencies aren’t being asked to supply people from other industries – that’s more what a mining company will try to do off their own back.

“Then what they are coming to an agency for is more the casual staff that will help skill up the new entrants into the sector.”

Hays last week reported that roles like geologists, drill and blast specialists and boilermakers were now in high demand around Australia.

Employment opportunities for geologists have especially risen in mineral-rich states, Western Australia and Queensland, as companies increased their exploration budgets, Kent explained.

“Geologists were hit really hard (in the downturn). You might have found a lot of Uber drivers in Perth and Brisbane that had geology degrees at one point,” Kent said.

“It’s nice that area is picking up – there are plenty of good geologists out there and often now they are working.

“They might not be working on their perfect project or in their optimal region where they live, but they are working again and that is an exciting sign because it means that the industry is exploring again and spending a bit of CAPEX.”