Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jacob Pleavin and I’m now the Supervisor of Truck and Shovel at Batchfire’s Callide Mine, as well as being a member of our Emergency Response Team.
When did you start in the mining industry and what was your first job?
The first mine I set foot in was Callide. I was a cleanskin straight out of high school and didn’t have aspirations to go to university. I had actually set my sights on the army, but the opportunity at Callide came up so I put my hand up. First, I started driving trucks, then water tankers, then dozers. When I learnt the dozer skills, I started spending more time around excavators and developed a great passion for the big diggers.
How different is your job now to what you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Vastly different! When I was a kid I originally wanted to be an accountant! I finished my schooling and at 18 I signed up for the army, but before I started my initial training I got the opportunity at Callide as a clean skin (new to industry) operator and never looked back.
What’s a usual day at work entail?
Turn up at 5am/pm, complete a handover with the off-going supervisor. Filter through emails, checking for new plans, reports etc. Line up the crew of their allocated equipment for the shift. After this is done around the 6am/pm mark, coffee will be on the menu.
After the prestart with the crew, we typically aren’t in the office much during the shift. We keep busy out in the paddock, checking on the dig areas, dumps, any specified hazardous areas, dragline and the coal plant.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It would have to be the challenges that are presented to us on a daily basis. I pride myself in overcoming said challenges, making myself a better supervisor.
The worst thing?
Rainy days for sure!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Becoming a supervisor was a natural progression for me from being a digger operator. I know my content after being in a pit for so long, I know what’s expected and how it should all run. But it’s definitely been a challenge, because you see a lot more behind closed doors around planning than you see out in the paddock. The biggest challenge for me has been being firm, but compassionate, because it’s all about people management.
What has been your proudest achievement?
Personally, it’s my three kids, they’re hands down my proudest achievements.
Professionally, it’s working my way through the ranks to where I am now.
What’s something about your job that would surprise people to know?
That we typically have crews of 50-65 people at any given time. A lot of personalities!
And we are nowhere near in the office as much as some might presume.
What’s a funny story about work that you can tell?
This one time after getting a new phone, I rocked up to work an hour early for my shift…all due to the automatic daylight savings setting.
What do you do in your downtime?
My family are quite active. We like to keep busy where we can. Walks, basketball, skateboarding, and gym are all pastimes of ours. I do like a good spot of gaming too – I am a self-confessed ‘nerd’ at heart.
The mining industry gets more than its fair share of criticism. What is your view of our industry and the impact it has?
A career in the resources sector is an awesome career for anyone. If you put your mind to it, keep your feet planted on the ground and you stay humble within yourself and learn the content, the opportunities are quite endless.
I think anyone should be considering a career in resources, it doesn’t matter what sex or ethnicity, it’s for everyone. I have been around great operators and fitters that are women and it’s really good to see the diversity these days.