Get that mine job

DISCUSSIONS:  In attendance at a forum to address employment issues in the mining industry this week are (l-r) Cate Simms, Nataly Zelayandia from Coal & Allied, NSW Minerals Council’s Sue-Ern Tan and BHP Billitons resources manager Julie Gray.
DISCUSSIONS: In attendance at a forum to address employment issues in the mining industry this week are (l-r) Cate Simms, Nataly Zelayandia from Coal & Allied, NSW Minerals Council’s Sue-Ern Tan and BHP Billitons resources manager Julie Gray.

YOUNG people wanting a job in the mining industry must be better prepared.

That was one conclusion from a mine-based local employment forum in Singleton on Wednesday.

NSW Minerals Council facilitated the forum after employment issues were highlighted among 10 mining impacts that must be addressed at a broader forum last year.

Poaching of staff, loss of local skills to the mining industry and ways to give local people the edge were among the topics of debate.

Human resources personnel from mining companies and labour companies and community members were involved in the discussion.

When questioned why more young people from Singleton, Muswellbrook and Scone were not successful apprentice applicants, the response from coal companies was the same.

All companies want the best applicants and our local kids just aren’t standing out.

Many failed to meet the basic mathematics requirement and did not know how to interview well.

Working on a mine site requires employees to work as part of a team and for what ever reason, perhaps lack of confidence, kids from the Upper Hunter more often step back than forward.

It is an issue already recognised and Coal & Allied this year introduced a new format in which potential applicants could participate in workshops to better prepare.

The workshops included mock interviews and advice on how to approach entry tests.

Schools also have a role to play to assist students to better prepare resumes and improve student’s job readiness.

Days of dropping apprentices once their time is done is over as demand for skills continues to grow.

At the other end of the scale businesses outside the industry are losing skilled staff to highly paid jobs, a situation that would need innovative thinking to solve.

NSW Minerals Council’s Sue-Ern Tan said it was a good format for companies to come together and discuss the common challenges.

“It is clear that everyone wants to get more local kids in the industry and I urge any student looking towards this employment pathway to act now because this is the recruitment time,” Ms Tan said.

Visit any of the mine shopfronts and most companies also have websites with further information for example BHP has jobs.bhpbilliton.com