It drives my wife crazy that just about no one stops and asks themselves this question. Why is there a constant flow of mining jobs that the employers seem unable to fill? She says ”people act like there is an infinite amount of mines hiring an infinite amount of people”. Instead of the truth “the industry’s dirty little secret, not lots of jobs but lots of turnover of new starters, lots of turnover”.
Why is this important? Because if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into then there is a very high chance that you will be one of the ones that gets turned over. You just have to look at the job hunt videos from our YouTube channel Australian Mining for New Starters to see the constant flow of jobs. It’s the same employers looking for the same positions over and over again.
This isn’t an article to knock the employers either. This problem affects every employer and most have spent and continue to spend, a small fortune, trying to fix the problem. However, whenever we go into a boom like we are in at the moment. Employers are forced to hire first and train second, there is always going to be a high turnover. Add in the pressure of working in a hazardous workplace with high production demands and you get an industry with a failure rate above 50% for New Starters
So what’s the problem, what goes wrong? What happen to everyone that got a job before you? Why did they fail?
In the simplest terms, new starters struggle understanding how the mine works and the rules that apply in the workplace. I’m not talking about a new starter learning the practical side of jobs they have to do on site, like driving the truck. That’s easy, everyone picks up how to drive the truck in a couple of weeks, that’s not the problem. It’s teaching them enough about how the mine works so you can leave them alone to get on with the job by themselves safely, that’s the problem. For people going in green (no mining experience), it can take 2 to 3 months to find your feet in the job.
You get a certain amount of time to get yourself up to speed but the longer it takes the more the pressure is ramped up. This forces people to either put up their hand and quit or they start to make mistakes. Of course everyone makes mistakes but when it’s a hazardous workplace there are many rules, that if broken will cost you your job. The employers need people that can get the job done, but safely. There is a reason the employers pay so much money for these jobs, they want and need a very high standard from their employees.
In an effort to fix this problem a group of WA shift boss wrote a 3 day training course for New Starters to the industry. The idea was to bring a new starter up to speed on how the mine worked and the jobs they would be expected to do as either a Nipper, Truck Operator, Offsider or member of Service/Paste Crew. This worked and in 2018 it all got moved online and is now 50 hours of information across 4 courses and a seminar. This online training is used for both our DIY Introduction to Underground Mining and Workready packages.
Doing either one of these packages allows a New Starter to get their mining knowledge up to speed before applying for the jobs. The main difference between the 2 packages is with the Workready we redo your resume for you and you get a shift boss like myself to prep you. We ask you a lot of mining questions to make sure you can hold the conversation with the Foreman or Project Manager in the interview, do interview prep and help you make a plan of where and how you are going to get in and then help you work that plan.
With the DIY it’s all the same online training but instead of us redoing your resume, there are full instructions on how to do it yourself as well as interview prep questions, so you can prep yourself for the interview. It really just depends on how much help you want/need. There are weekly job hunt videos from our YouTube channel and we load all the jobs we think you should be applying for on our “Mining job to apply for” page. You can see all the people that have used the training to get a job on our ‘Wall of Fame” page.
If you can present to the employer in the interview already knowing the theory on how their mine works. Then you change the goal posts as you have already done the hard part for them. Learning how the mine works really is a skill the employers want. It means they can have someone up to speed in 3-4 weeks instead of the 2-3 months it normally takes.