Want a career in resources? Downer Mining explains what to consider and expect

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At Mining Family Matters, we’re regularly asked for advice on finding a job in resources, and what companies are looking for in new employees. Here, the experts at Downer Mining – one of Australia’s leading mining contractors – offer some simple answers…

Things to consider before starting a career in mining

  • Long hours: the average shift is 12.5 hours long, and you’ll likely be working a mix of day and night shifts. Your day might start as early as 4.30am and end at 7pm
  • The potential impacts of working away from a spouse/family
  • A strict routine and often repetitive work
  • Inflexibility: you can’t leave the site to pay bills etc. if you’re working at a residentially-based project
  • Fatigue, especially when rotating from day shift to night shift
  • Working away in remote locations, and often in challenging conditions (hot weather, dusty environment etc.)
  • Rostered days on include weekends and public holidays, which will again have an impact on your family and social life (you’ll need to get used to missing sporting events, birthdays and weddings)
  • The mine is open 363 days of the year, 24 hours a day

Downer Mining looks for employees who

  • Work in collaboration with others and take pride in the achievements of the team
  • Strive for improvement and innovation, and have the courage to challenge existing thinking and actively contribute new initiatives that benefit the company
  • Demonstrate integrity and responsibility through honest, respectful and transparent communication
  • Strive for excellence in achieving their goals through commitment to the job at hand
  • Are responsible and accountable for the care and protection of their peers.

In return, Downer Mining offers

  • A genuine career path to high performers seeking to develop their career
  • Encouragement to unearth your full career potential (tertiary assistance programs are offered to cover costs associated with relevant study)
  • Practical assistance to help you balance your career and family life: Downer Mining partners with Expect A Star in its innovative corporate family program, which is designed to provide practical support and services such as childcare and parenting assistance to make family and work commitments a little easier
  • A resource sector competitive salary package

Downer Mining success stories

Amanda Blake: Apprentice Fitter 

"I got into mining on advice of friends who told me that I would enjoy working on a mine site. After 18 years working in car dealership workshops, I wanted to get outdoors and work. I had a conversation with a friend who is a Downer Mining employee, and he told me that Downer Mining is good to work for. I wanted to do an apprenticeship so I would be able to learn a trade. I was a little hesitant to change trades from light to heavy, but after having chats to other fitters they assured me that I would be able to handle the physical side of it. Also there will be a lot more opportunities to further my career as a fitter. The culture within my crew is great. We have a lot of hard workers who like to get in and get the job done. As a female in a male-dominated industry, I love the respect I get from the men. They are more than willing to help me learn and respect me for being in there and having a go. I would encourage women to do apprenticeships in the mines. The mining industry has equality for men and women. There is no role in mining that a woman cannot do.   As an apprentice diesel fitter I carry out maintenance and part changeouts on the heavy earth moving equipment at Blackwater mine. I really enjoy climbing down into the engine compartment of a rear dump truck to change some filters or parts. I am looking to further my career with Downer Mining once I have learned my trade and the mining industry."

Brooke McKinlay: Training Clerk

"I chose the mining industry because of job availability at the time of leaving school. Living in a small town there weren’t many job opportunities, so when I heard about the site clerk traineeship position at Commodore mine I decided to apply.  It was only a 12-month contract but as the year came to an end I was asked whether I wanted to move on with the company and was offered a training clerk position at Norwich Park, which I accepted. I worked at Norwich Park for around nine months until the site closed down. Since then, I have been involved in the demobilisation of Norwich Park and the remobilisation of Daunia mine where I am currently working. Although I enjoyed the site clerk role, I am also enjoying the training clerk role, as I have had some great experiences in this position as well as the opportunity to improve. I have now been with Downer Mining for two years, and have found that with this company you have the opportunity to meet many different people, keep in contact with other sites and hear of their successes."