My Mining Life – Hannah Jessiman

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Who are you and what do you do?

Hannah Jessiman – I’m an HR Advisor for Whitehaven Coal.

When did you start in the mining industry and what was your first job?

My first job in mining was with Whitehaven, as a Recruitment Advisor back in 2020.

How different is your job now to what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher but my fear of needles and my babysitting jobs quickly put me off! I’ve always wanted to help people, and now I definitely get opportunities to do that.

What’s a usual day at work entail?

I manage day-to-day HR activities like answering employee questions around leave and policies, and maintaining our HR information system. I get to work on a lot of different projects – we were recently endorsed by Work180 as a preferred employer for women and I’ll be working closely with their team on how we can continue to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across the business.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Everyday there is an opportunity to learn something new and I have a supportive team which makes all the difference. Whitehaven also has a lot of opportunities for development I have been fortunate to be included in such as the Women in Mining mentoring program. All of this and the freedom to make the role my own really makes it the best job!

The worst thing?

People’s mindsets about HR can be quite negative but we’re here to support employees and work to create a positive culture across the business.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

I started with Whitehaven one week before the first COVID lockdown. It was challenging to learn my new role and build relationships from home. Especially with the teams on site as we weren’t able to travel.     

What has been your proudest achievement?

I was part of the first centralised, in-house recruitment team for our business and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. My recent role change to HR Advisor is also a proud achievement for me. I studied HR at university and always wanted to get into the field. I am very grateful for the opportunity.

What’s something about your job that would surprise people to know?

Every day is different! It is certainly not a boring desk job especially when site-based. There are many different functions within the HR space so you could try a bit of everything.

What’s a funny story about work that you can tell?

Being from Scotland, I struggle to say the name of some Australian towns so every time I have to try in front of my colleagues, they all laugh. I butcher it every time!

What do you do in your downtime?

Spending time with my partner and our puppy. Going to the beach, bush walking and going out to eat. I also try to travel and visit new places as often as I can. We’ve just moved to Gunnedah so we’re looking forward to exploring the area.

The mining industry gets more than its fair share of criticism. What is your view of our industry and the impact is has?

I don’t think people realise the impact and importance of mining in our everyday lives. I agree that we should be looking to the future, but we can’t ignore the present. Whole communities rely on mining and we need to remember that in these conversations. 

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