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Tanya Olive Coalface

Tanya Olive is an Operations Trainer/Assessor at Jellinbah Mining in the Bowen Basin, but she recently just received her Open Cut Examiner (OCE) ticket after years of hard work.

Tanya started in the mining industry in 2007 at Jellinbah working in training and administration for a few years before going out to Jellinbah Plains working for contractors John Holland and Thiess.

“It was there when I was working as the Safety, Health and Environment and Training Coordinator for Thiess in 2015/16 that I realised I wanted to be an OCE.”

When she looked at the application requirements, Tanya realised she needed an operational background to apply so she got stuck in working as a truck trainee back at Jellinbah mine.

“During that time, in 2019, I started my dozer training, so after that I knew I finally had enough skills to continue with my OCE application.

“Then I started studying and completing my modules. There’s so much more involved in it compared to years ago. It’s a two-hour written exam and then an oral exam that could go anywhere from two to six hours where you sit in front of a board of examiners, and they ask you questions.

“The most challenging part of the whole process was when I was ready to apply, they changed the rules a little bit and said you couldn’t sit your exam until you had a dragline skill or an excavator skill – I didn’t have either of those.

“I had to make the decision to leave Jellinbah, the place that I loved, and go to a different company in 2020 and gain my dragline skill.

Tanya said it was great job to be a dragline operator, but she had worked too hard to get to the point of being able to apply for her OCE ticket that she had to make the decision to leave the dragline and continue her path of getting her OCE.

Finally, this year, Tanya got what she had worked so hard for – her OCE ticket.

Tanya has been appointed on site as an OCE and will provide relief coverage when required. Either way, she’s back at the workplace she loves.

“I was away for three years, and I came back last year, and it felt like I had never left!”

Compared to the number of male OCE’s, Tanya said she is one of few females who have gone through the process and gotten their ticket. She remembers being at a seminar and out of about 100 OCE’s she was one of two or three women.

“Yes, it is daunting, yes, it is scary, but we’ve all got to take that step if we want to progress our career.

“You must grab the opportunity. If it’s there to be taken you must grab it. I think there’s a lot more support for women now than what there was when I started, and I think there’s a much bigger focus on getting women involved in mining.

“It’s always been a challenge don’t get me wrong, being a female. There were only two females when I started at Jellinbah out in the field on a truck, so it comes with its challenges. I’ve worked with a crew of men on the dragline crew, it’s hard to deal with the personalities of 65-year-old men some days who don’t like women in mining, but gradually you win them over. I think you have to prove your ability and show you’re keen to work.”

“If you want career progression, you must chase it, it won’t fall in your lap. There are challenges but it is definitely worth it.”

Tanya’s career in mining has certainly influenced her children to get a trade. 18-year-old daughter Lexy is doing her electrician apprenticeship, and 21-year-old son Brock is doing his plumbing apprenticeship.

Tanya was also recognised at the annual QRC/WIMARQ Women in Resources Awards held in Queensland on International Women’s Day. She took home the Exceptional Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician in Queensland Resources.

So, as you can see, good things come to those who work hard for it!

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