Women topple men in BMA’s largest apprentice cohort
The largest cohort of apprentices are taking their first steps in a career in mining as recruitment ramps up for additional trainees.
Nine apprentices from the greater Mackay area are part of the cohort of 60 to take up positions on completion of BMA's Work Readiness Program at Emerald TAFE.
The 2021 intake has almost 60 per cent female representation, 23 per cent Indigenous representation and more than 85 per cent are from regional Queensland.
Summer Aprile is an apprentice plumber originally from Mackay and will take up a position at Hay Point.
Having worked at BMA sites as a contract cleaner, the 23 year old said she knew she wanted to one day wear a BHP shirt.
"When I was working as a contractor, the majority of people we were working with were males and I seemed to be the only female," she said.
"There might be one or two other girls in a crowd of 40 blokes.
"So when I came out here and saw there was a lot of females and saw the diversity, it was awesome.
"They're giving girls the opportunity. It's super exciting because all us girls are going to be learning together.
"It helps with confidence seeing there are other girls because it can be daunting working in a male dominated industry so it is nice seeing more females in the industry."
Rory Minty, from a farming family at Mundubbera, has just finished high school.
He will start his diesel fitter apprenticeship at Saraji in the Bowen Basin.
"I've never stepped foot on a mine site but I'm looking forward to it; I'm pretty keen to see how it is," he said.
"It has been good, they look after you, they step you through everything. It has been good to get the hands dirty and learn the correct techniques."
Mr Minty said it was "good to see" more women in his cohort than men.
"I wasn't expecting it at all, to be honest," he said.
"It's predominantly a male dominated field - well, it used to be, anyway - but it's good to see.
"That's the way it should be, really."
The 2021 apprentice cohort come from across the local region including 21 from Moranbah, nine from the greater Mackay area, three from Blackwater, four from Dysart, three from Rockhampton, two from Emerald and a further 18 from central, north and far-east Queensland.
It is the largest cohort of apprentices through the program which was formally set up in 2011 to prepare new workers to be safe and site-ready before starting practical work experience at BMA sites.
BMA has launched a recruitment campaign for an additional 67 traineeships with opportunities on offer that will provide nationally accredited qualifications and skills in the disciplines of resource processing, surface extraction, laboratory skills, business administration, supply chain operations and project management.
BMA asset president James Palmer said apprentices were the future of the business.
"We take great pride in training members of our community to become part of our team," he said.
"During a challenging time for our industry, we're creating more than 120 jobs that provide a pathway to a career in mining.
"Our new apprentices are a diverse group, reflecting the communities in which we operate.
"Building and fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce is critical for BMA."