There are a lot of misconceptions about how to start out in the resources sector and with so many jobs on offer as the industry continues to expand it would be natural to think it would be easy to find work in the resources sector. However, the resources sector is a highly diverse, technical and skilled industry, and as such there's no 'one size fits all' approach to finding work.
One of the biggest challenges for newcomers is finding common entry points and pathways for each role, because there are so many different recruitment approaches across sectors and across companies. Here are some of the most common ways to start out in the industry and find entry level mining jobs, of course depending on your skills, experience and occupational level:
Entry-level jobs - These include Field Assistant, Trades Assistant, or support service roles such as Kitchenhands and Cleaners. Without any experience or training otherwise, it is very difficult to break into the industry. An exception to the rule can be if you live close to a mining operation (though there is no guarantee). Having experience in manual labour or heavy industrial or machinery work can be a huge advantage especially for entry level mining jobs.
Labour hire and contractors - Many mining companies go through labour hire or contracting companies for their skilled operator or trade roles. If you have the skills in these occupational areas and are new to the industry, then labour hire and contracting companies are a good place to start in order to get your foot in the door.
Apprenticeships and traineeships - The industry recruits both mature age apprentices and trainees and those under 21. Some of these will be offered directly through a company, which may be advertised on their website, or many are offered through group training organisations. Find out more about mining traineeships and apprenticeships.
Students and graduates - The resources sector is a large provider of vacation work placements, with hundreds of paid placements on offer each year undertaken during the university summer holidays. These are usually advertised between July and October and can be found via our Facebook page Vacation Work with Mining and Energy Companies. Note that the interest in these placements usually exceeds the numbers available.
Graduate programs can provide valuable opportunities for structured learning and professional development, site rotations, mentoring, peer networking e.t.c.and are advertised on an annual basis depending on operational requirements. Students and graduates are considered for positions across many engineering disciplines, science and surveying, as well as IT, human resources, health and safety, accounting, law, business and communications, and more depending on company size and requirements.
Graduate opportunities are advertised via our Facebook page Graduate Jobs with Mining and Energy Companies.
Entry level positions in the resources and mining sector include:
- Driller's assistant / Offsider
- Field Assistant
- Pit Technician
- Shotfirer's Assistant
- Surveying Assistant
- Trades Assistant
- Trainee Operator.
To be eligible for such positions, applicants must have a strong aptitude for work and good English literacy, numeracy and technology skills. Applicants must also be fit for work (e.g. be of sound health and be alcohol and drug free).
Gaining employment in entry-level positions in the Australian resources sector is very competitive, with many applicants for each available position.
While there has been much commentary in the media regarding critical skills shortages in the Australian resources sector, this is in relation to skilled positions rather than entry level.
Check out our FAQs for more info on getting started in the resources sector.