Where did I grow up?
I grew up in Perth, attended Murdoch University in 2005, and completed a BSc in Physics and Nanotechnology with Honours in 2010. I was very interested in a lab-based career at the time, but found myself being more drawn towards the cool expensive lab-scale equipment I was fortunate enough to use, i.e Electron Microscopes, X-Ray Diffraction etc, than the actual samples I was looking at!
I found it quite difficult upon graduating to find lab type work that paralleled with my qualifications. The mining boom had just started and I struggled (failed) to really get a foot in the door. I eventually got a start in the Environmental Monitoring equipment industry and found myself once again playing with similar gear, albeit a bit simpler, to what I was using back in the lab at Murdoch. Getting the opportunity to move to QLD for a year to open a service branch from scratch for my company was a highlight and through that had the chance to visit a lot of really cool places, like mines, processing plants, power stations even Navy Frigates!
This year especially, really ignited my passion for Engineering and after spending the following year travelling, I decided to go back and enrol in a Bachelor of Electrical Power Engineering at Curtin. The rest they say is history!
How did I get the position?
I applied across a wide range of Graduate Programs in 2018 and was fortunate enough to be accepted to the 2019 Newmont Australia Graduate Program. I spent my first year of the 2-year program at the Superpit in Kalgoorlie, before transitioning to our Tanami Operation in the Northern Territory in January 2020.
How did I choose my specialisation?
My biggest decision initially was whether to pursue an Electronic based or Electrical Power-based Engineering stream. Given my struggles in finding a job after my first degree, I decided to look at a stream that would be as general as possible and offer, what I believed to be, the most diverse range of opportunities across my career. Thus, I settled on Electrical Power, because hey, everything needs power right? In turn, a large amount of investment and cultural shift towards Renewable Energy technology convinced me that pursuing an Electrical Power stream would be the ideal pathway for a long and stimulating career.
What was the interview process like?
The Newmont interview process was actually one of the more relaxed ones I had been in at the time. We had an initial Group Assessment Centre, which covered a range of discussion activities around topics such as; challenges integrating Autonomous Vehicles into a mine site as well as how to implement a flexible rostering system to better cater for parents of young children etc.
The final stage of the interview process was a face to face with one of the department leaders. One of the key questions I was asked related to coping with relocating to a regional town (Kalgoorlie). Thus, having lived interstate in a regional town previously, I was able to share my experiences in dealing with relocation, making new friends etc. One question I was asked often throughout various Interview processes, which sometimes isn’t afforded the same consideration as others, was “What are my weaknesses?” This isn’t a question probing for a negative answer, but more testing a candidate’s ability to critically self-reflect and in my opinion is as important, if not more so, than relaying one's strengths.
What does my Employer do?
Newmont Corporation is the world’s largest Gold miner and operates across several jurisdictions across the globe, primarily North America, Australia, Africa and South America.
My areas of responsibility?
In my current role, I am working in the Mine Maintenance and Projects department. We provide support to the Processing Plant and Underground mine for all Electrical assets and infrastructure, as well as the scope and execute small capital projects. In short, we’re responsible for all things Electrical across the site. However, given the increasing levels of digitization across the industry, we do often cross into instrumentation and communications-related projects.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Given our department's broad scope, day to day can vary greatly. This can range from; implementing revised settings into Earth leakage circuit breakers at the underground substations, to reviewing work instructions and site procedures, to heading out to scope up and design a new upgrade for the filter plant.
What are the career prospects with your job?
If choosing to stay within the mining industry, one in my position can typically pursue a technical pathway or a leadership pathway. Technical pathways involve specializing in your field and becoming say a Project Manager or Technical Specialist, while Leadership pathways would involve moving through maintenance based Supervisor à Superintendent direction. That said, there are many opportunities outside of mining and resources, for example, working for an OEM / vendor, infrastructure construction, consultancy or into the public sector/utilities.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
Hard to say! I spent 10 years working out what I wanted to do with myself and I’d like to think I’m pretty satisfied where I’m at now!
What do I love most about my job?
I really enjoy communicating with people and using various tools to investigate and propose solutions. These skills really come to the fore during fault situations, where a trip has occurred on the electrical infrastructure somewhere. I find them exciting as they often have a critical time component and pressure to pull together all the information you possibly can to fault find and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
What are the biggest limitations?
The biggest challenge for me so far has been adapting to FIFO life. Being away from friends and family, missing out on birthdays / other events, not being able to go to footy/cricket training after work etc has taken some getting used to. But it’s really just a matter of forging a new routine and it’s getting easier with each swing that goes by.
Three pieces of advice to a University Student: