A project has been launched in Australia to encourage more women, including those from overseas to seek jobs in the country’s resources industry.
International mining group Rio Tinto has a Digging for Diversity recruitment programme aimed at diversifying its workforce and educating women about employment opportunities in the mining industry.
The first group of 150 women have visited its Yandicoogina mine site in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip and have taken away several things from listening to the Rio Tinto women speak,’ said business and law student Gaynor Lewis.
‘Everything was organised so perfectly and the Rio Tinto staff were all so friendly and very accommodating. Since my return I have been spreading the word to anyone who will listen about what a great place Yandi is and what a great set up Rio Tinto have there,’ she added.
Yandicoogina general manager Alex Bates said there were no quick fixes when it came to building a diverse workforce.
‘By building awareness of what’s on offer, and in particular by targeting students and educators, we hope to encourage young women to consider a career in mining and help make a positive difference to our industry,’ he explained.
To ensure a genuine experience, a village tour was included along with accommodation and meals at the FIFO camp, and a mine site tour. The group also saw a blast which uses explosives to loosen the ground in preparation for mining.
‘This is a great industry to work in and we have so many challenging and rewarding roles on offer, with flexible working arrangements. Rio Tinto takes a sustainable long term approach to all that we do,’ added Bates.
Mining is an industry that is set to need over 10,000 new employees in the next few years. The Roy Hill project, also in the Pilbara region, owned by businesswoman Gina Rinehart is the first to be granted an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) to bring in over 1,700 foreign workers on Australia visas.
Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting became the first company to be granted an EMA in May and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen since confirmed that at least 10 similar agreements, which allow resource projects to being in large numbers of foreign workers on an Australia visa, are in the pipeline.
The arrangement allows for 1,715 foreign workers to be granted visas to work in Australia over the course of the next three years for AU$9.5 billion Roy Hill iron ore project.
Currently negotiations are taking place to agree on the details of the agreement which is the first of its kind in Australia.