Did you know that currently only 16.7% of those working in mining across Australia are female?We know that’s a number that can and must be improved, which is why we’ve taken part in many initiatives with both our clients and independently to play our part in changing the industry, with our percentage of female employees in mining sitting above the national average at 21%.Mining has always had a pretty blokey image, however, the industry is starting to change. Each year the opportunities for women to build careers in the industry are increasing. One such woman is Kym, one of our employees out on site at Clermont Coal, who is not only a hard-working operator but a devoted mother. Kym’s site manager Samantha caught up with her to talk about working in the mines, and the key to balancing the job with parenthood.What is your background?After leaving school I spent a couple of years as an apprentice carpenter before moving into some sales positions. For the last 5 years I’ve focused on being a mum and being active in our local community with the local fire service and the SES.How do you balance being a mum and working on a mine site?The key is to focus on a plan and get organised. I have to meal prep a week in advance and be ready with school lunches. Letting go of the Mum guilt is the hardest, but I keep telling my girls and myself that my role in mining is benefiting our family and helps us afford the lifestyle we live and the holidays we take. With that, I’ve accepted that there will be good days and there will be bad days. We are very fortunate to have wonderful childcare- my mum looks after our children while we are on shift, so we know that they are in very capable hands. When I’m on night shift I will try to video call the girls before bed if my crib breaks line up. My mum is great for sending through photos and little updates during the day of what their up to as well! Then on days off we try to plan something special as a family to make up for the time away from them.How did you get your start in mining?I am lucky enough to live local and know quite a few people at Clermont coal. A very good friends husband handed my resume into the haulage superintendent at a time they were hiring greenies (new to industry). Within days I was lucky enough to get a call from WorkPac.What do you think are (if any) the main barriers are for women in mining, and how do you think they overcome the setbacks?I don’t believe there are any setbacks for women in mining. There are plenty of women on our site, from haulage, workshop, field maintenance and administration. Working your way to the top will not be an easy or a quick task, but that does not mean it cannot be done. So long as you focus on working hard and presenting yourself in a positive light to other people, you will have a good shot at successfully achieving everything that you want to in the mining world.What do you enjoy about work and why did you choose mining?I love coming to work each day, there hasn’t been a shift I haven’t wanted to be here. I get to be more than just mum. I get to drive 200 tonne dump trucks and get paid for it! Clermont isn’t really a huge place and jobs are very far between. My husband works at Clermont Coal, so does his brother, my sister and her husband, so I guess it’s the family tradition now.What is your 5-year goal?Our five-year goal is to still be here in Clermont and chipping away at those financial goals we set before moving here. I would love to be multi skilled on equipment by then and be part of the Emergency Response Team. One day I aspire to be a leader in our industry, showing women that anyone can do and be whatever they want.
Coal mines across Australia rely on machinery and machinery operators to extract coal day in day out. Check out our infographic for a guide to some commonly used pieces of equipment including:Dump TrucksWater CartsGradersDozersExcavatorsShovels andDraglinesIf you are a mobile plant operator looking for work in mining check out our vacancies here.