A miner's career change – from the bush to the big smoke!

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Ever wondered what comes after mining? Brad Thorp, the Manager of Recruitment Operations with Mining People International, explains how his 'sea change' lead him out of the outback and into the big smoke...

I have been part of the mining industry since the day I was born. My Dad was working at Greenbushes Tin when Mum was bundled off to Bunbury hospital to have me. Growing up, I lived in some of the more interesting mining locations, King Island and Eneabba to name a couple.

After leaving school I went to uni for 18 months to do a Bachelor of Business, which I soon found out wasn’t really for me. On a uni break I was given my first job on a mine at the age of 19. That was at Horseshoe Lights near Meekatharra on a 2/1 FIFO roster. I was the very bottom of the food chain, a TA for the maintenance team, but I had the time of my life. I learnt a whole lot about living in a camp and standing on your own two feet. I still keep in contact with the maintenance foreman from that very first job.

After another attempt at uni the lure of an overseas trip was calling, but I needed money. So I found a mining job, again starting at the very bottom. I worked for a mining contractor on a manganese screening plant in Shay Gap. This job was the start of a seven-year association with this mining contractor, a company I owe a great deal to. Back in the early and mid 1990s this group had a fantastic management team and if you worked hard and did the right thing they would always look after you. After a year of working at Shay Gap and Paraburdoo I was off on my overseas jaunt.

So after a two-year sabbatical seeing a fair chunk of Europe and South America I arrived back in Perth with not much other than a few clothes and a credit card bill. I moved to Newman where I worked at Ore Body 23/25. It was a fantastic site; it had a great management team and an awesome bunch of people. During this time I worked in the processing plant and in drill & blast, along the way getting a Shot Firers ticket and Restricted Quarry Managers ticket.

However, after five years my wife and I decided we wanted to see if we could make a life for ourselves in Perth, so in June 2001 we packed up the VL Commodore and headed to Perth with no real idea of what I might do. I had thought about recruiting, but didn’t really think anyone in Perth would take on someone who had absolutely no experience. I gave myself a couple of months to find a job, otherwise I was going to go back to mining and doing FIFO.

I responded to a Mining People (MPi) advert looking for a recruitment administrator. I had no idea who Mining People were but after a bit of research I realised they were a good bunch to work for and was lucky enough to be offered the job.

I’ve been with MPi for over 10 years now and it has given me the most awesome opportunities, better than I could have imagined. I get to travel to mine sites all over Australia, I’ve lived in Brisbane for two and a half years, I’ve helped our clients recruit whole project teams right across Australia. It’s never dull. I’ve also completed an MBA, had three kids and every step of the way I’ve been supported by MPi. As a company we understand what family really means and that, yes, we need to work hard but we also need to take holidays, attend school sports carnivals and sometimes leave work to help sort out things like kids' broken arms.