For the third year in a row, females have outnumbered males in the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) apprentice intake. Women now make up more than a third of BHP’s workforce.
In the class of ’23, 64 per cent (26 apprentices) are female and 29 per cent represent Indigenous Australians (12 apprentices).
Venna Baggow, 18, electrical apprentice at Peak Downs Mine was motivated to pursue a career in mining during high school.
“I think it’s super-inspiring to be a first-year female apprentice because I feel like younger generations of females can look up to the role and see the opportunity that they can have, as well as males,” said Venna.
“I’m glad to be a part of the industry while it’s changing because you can look back to where it was and look forward to where it’s going in the future. It’s awesome to be a part of BHP as it is such a big organisation, but they classify everyone as family, so it just feels like home.”
In 2023, 41 new apprentices started their careers with BMA across central QLD as a diverse group from school leavers to mature aged undertaking a range of trades including Electricians, Mechanics, Diesel Fitters, Auto Electricians and Boilermakers.
Charlize Mackenzie, 18, mechanical fitter at Hay Point Coal Terminal was inspired by her Dad to enter mining.
“I’ve always loved to go to work with my Dad and that’s really what drove me into the industry. It’s been really empowering to be able to go to site and see that there are a lot of women in the industry and it’s really accepting. It’s a big thing to have equality.”
All the apprentices come from the communities where BHP operates including 13 from Moranbah, 7 from Greater Mackay area, 5 from Blackwater, 3 from Dysart and 2 from Rockhampton and Yeppoon and a further 6 from North and Far East Queensland.
Lea Beissmann, electrical apprentice at Goonyella Riverside Mine moved to Australia four years ago from Germany.
“I originally came here as a backpacker and sort of just slid into the mining industry living in Moranbah. It’s been a very interesting journey for me. The mining industry is always expanding. There’re so many opportunities for me going forward from this. I can go anywhere I want to be, I can explore new things, it’s just really a very rewarding industry to be in.”
BHP President Australia, Geraldine Slattery said that it is inspiring to see more women on the tools in trade apprenticeships at BHP.
“I’m excited for all of our new apprentices, beginning their careers in an industry that offers so much opportunity and has changed so much from when I first started.
“We know from our own data that inclusive and diverse teams are safer, more productive and have a stronger culture. Women now represent more than a third of BHP’s workforce, and we are determined to achieve gender balance that better reflects the broader community.
“Regional Australia has so much talent to tap into to develop the next generation of skilled workers and future leaders, who will help drive our economy forward and produce the critical minerals needed for the energy transition.”