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Our Stories 11 March 2021

Female trainees carving out careers at Karara

All-round operators are extremely rare on mine sites, particular young female team members. Training Operators, like those at Karara, are one of the entry-level opportunities that are available at Bis which enable diverse, new team members to enter the mining industry. Indeed, training and career progression are key elements of our culture at Bis.

 “Most mine sites will only train new trainees on one machine and potentially keep them on that machine for at least five years before they even get a chance to progress… I know of some women who have been operating a dump truck for over 10 years before they even got a look in for other training.” comments Lance Jones, Site Manager.

The drive to do it

After completing a Certificate II Process Plant Operations while still in school, Jessica was brought into the team in 2019 to do casual inventory work. Due to her work ethic and drive, her role morphed into being out in the field cleaning conveyors and finally having the opportunity to complete training on 6 out of 7 pieces of core equipment at Karara. She has now landed herself a permanent role as Operator Maintainer. Her day to day now consists of operating a range of assets including dump trucks, loader, water cart, skid steers, control cab, whilst performing basic maintenance operations of fixed plant.

“To do this much training in just over six months at 19 years old is impressive. Now Jessica is regarded on site as one of the top operators.” Lance comments.

Bis’ operational training team members are essential to help team members develop new skills whilst operating safely at all times. “Our goal is not just pushing them through for the sake of statistics. This is more than literally any other site can offer. It’s such a great opportunity for all.”

Jessica’s achievements inspired the site leadership team to take on more female trainees and give young women a chance to get into the mining industry, and the team have not been disappointed. 

Retail to Mining

Trainee Operator, Lasey, had been trying to enter the mining industry for several years. She took the leap with Bis, leaving her Retail Manager job despite never having set foot on a mine site before. She has since completed training in water cart operations, basic dump truck and control cab operations in very quick succession.

Part of her reasons why she loves working at Karara is being part of a smaller site, which helps in building close connection within the team.  

“My team and leaders are warm and welcoming, and the team is small so I don’t feel like a number. My days and weeks pass so quickly as there are always tasks to do and something new to learn. Bis also puts safety of its people above everything; I love feeling valued and safe.”

Support makes the difference

Following in others footsteps with basic mechanical TAFE experience, Trinity jumped at the opportunity to join the team as a Trainee Operator and is getting used to working with equipment of an immense size. Like all FIFO workers she found the remoteness of mining a challenge, but Trinity has adjusted well with support from Safety and Sustainability Advisor Zoe, and our People and Culture team. 

Karara has set a great example of how an inclusive environment where gender stereotypes are challenged can complement and enhance operations. Site leader Lance is passionate about creating a springboard to help employees, regardless of gender or background, recognise opportunities to progress further in their careers. Helping apprentices and trainees build confidence and acquire a sense of ownership, which can make all the difference, especially for women who previously may have felt outnumbered or unspoken for in the industry.

Karara Trainees

  • Jessica in the field

  • Lacey on International Women's Day 2021