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To the Rescue!

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This year saw the reinstatement of the Mines Rescue
Cadet Program and @ The Coalface got to meet the lucky
four cadets who have been given this great opportunity.
The Mines Rescue cadet program gives four go getters the opportunity to
learn the skills and competencies of a Mines Rescue Training Officer with the
objective of gaining industry employment on completion of their two-year
cadetship.

The program commenced in 2004 but ceased in 2014 with the downturn in the
industry. Matthew Fellowes, General Manager Mines Rescue and Regulation
and Compliance said the decision to reinstate the program this year reflects
the changes to the current mining cycle and the upswing in employment
opportunities. “It also demonstrates our support of introducing and training
young workers to the industry from our local communities.”
Over a two-year period, the cadets will undergo extensive training in safety,
equipment, maintenance and procedures including 12 weeks of underground
work experience. Past cadets have gone on to roles in such as Mines Rescue
employees, Production Managers, Undermanagers, Ventilation Officers,
Deputies, Fire Officers and Health & Safety Advisors. After talking with this
year’s cadets, we have no doubt they will all go on to make their mark on our
industry.

Jackson Lambkin – Hunter Valley Mines Rescue

No stranger to the industry, Jackson was an operator at Wambo before
deciding to get into the rescue side of things. “It was a big decision to apply
for the cadetship as it meant a big pay cut and I had to weigh that against the
opportunities that it would create. In the end, my interest in the training and
safety side of the industry won out and I was lucky enough to be selected for
the program.”
Jackson went on to say that he hasn’t regretted his decision for a single
second. “The experience has been great so far. Interacting with all the
brigadesmen is a definite highlight. It’s such a great bunch of people that I am
learning from and working with. I’ve also enjoyed seeing how each mine
operates. They each have their own individual style and way of doing things
that makes it interesting.”

Whether he’s working in the training rooms or busy with maintenance Jackson
always takes his work very seriously. “Some of the equipment we work on
could mean the difference between life and death, so you have to make sure
you are doing your job right.”
Jackson said when his cadetship finishes he plans to continue working in the
safety side of things. “I love working in mines rescue and I hope to continue to
do so when I finish.”

Ashlee Singleton – Newcastle Mines Rescue

After 8 years in the travel industry, Ashlee was looking for a change. “My dad
has been part of the coal industry for more than 30 years and I have always
been fascinated by it. When this opportunity came up I went for it.”
Having just started a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety at TAFE, Ashlee
will use it and the knowledge and the hands-on skills she’s learning at Mines
Rescue to further a career in the industry.
As a cadet Ashlee said every day is different. “I love the diversity and the
challenge of learning something new every day. I work with an amazing team
and the guys here are more than happy to share their vast knowledge.”
Ashlee was involved in the recent Coal Services First Aid competition as an
assessor and played a casualty at the Newcastle Mines Rescue competition
at Newstan. “Both experiences really hit home the importance of the safety
training that we provide and how it can be applied in various situations. I
would recommend this program for anyone wanting to gain insight into or a
foot in the door to the industry.”

Luke Toole – Southern Mines Rescue

Before the cadetship Luke was a carpenter, running his own business. On
hearing of the cadetship, he thought it was too great an opportunity not to try
for. “I wanted a new challenge even though it meant a huge change and was
a big risk to take.”
Luke said that he loves that he is always learning something new. “I just
participated in the Newcastle Mines Rescue Comp which was a great
experience. I also really enjoyed the 10-day brigades training.”
Luke went on to say that that there’s no typical day for a cadet. “I could be
assisting with the Mines Rescue courses, servicing and maintaining
equipment or just helping the training officers with whatever they need.”
“I would recommend the cadetship to anyone as it has been the best decision
I have ever made. Coal Services have been such a great support and
everyone I’ve worked with has welcomed me with open arms and been so
willing to share their knowledge and teach me.”
Luke will be looking for a start with a pit as an operator when the cadetship
finishes in 2020 but he won’t be stopping there. “I plan on going down the
statutory path and getting my deputy certificate and this cadetship is the first
step on that path.”

Chris Keller – Western Mines Rescue

Chris spent 13 years in the army and when he came out was looking for a
new career. “I saw the cadetship pop up on seek and it was like fate. I had
always been interested in the mining industry and it offered everything I was
looking for.”
From the very beginning Chris said the cadetship has been great. “Coal
Services put on a welcome day where I got to meet everyone from Mines
Rescue and new starters from all over the industry. From day one everyone
has been so welcoming and happy to share their experience and knowledge.”
Chris said he recently took a tour of Mandalong to see firsthand their longwall
operations. “The massive machinery was so impressive, and it really sparked
my passion to get into underground mining when I finish the cadetship. The
cadetship will set me up for so many opportunities, whether I go onto to a
training role in Mines Rescue or even perhaps a deputy. I’m so grateful for
this opportunity.”
Chris said he recommends to anyone out there looking for a kick start in the
mining industry to consider a cadetship. “Every day is different and has its
own challenges, but I couldn’t be happier.”

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