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Callide International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Batchfire Resources is proud to share two of its New to Industry success stories and shine a spotlight on the opportunities available for women in the resources sector.

Bek Roy’s dump truck dreams became a reality when she became a machinery operator at Batchfire Resources’ Callide Mine.

Bek and her family packed up and left Brisbane almost a decade ago, with a dream to work in the mines after seeing a larger-than-life dump truck up close.

“I visited a mine at Moura and went out to the viewing platform with my kids, who were little at the time. As the trucks drove past, I looked at my partner and said ‘I want to do that!’”

At the time, Bek worked in hospitality and her partner was a tyre fitter, but the couple were craving a change of scenery and careers that would make their dream life possible.

“I was working nights, and he was working days, so we were basically passing ships.

“So, we just packed up our whole life in Brisbane and moved to Moura, to try and make it into the mining game!”

It was difficult at first and Bek commenced work as a cleaner on various mine sites, biding her time in entry-level roles, and never losing sight of her dream.

“It was not easy, and it did take time. We both started as cleaners, and it took him about three years to get a traineeship and it took me about five.”

Eventually, Bek saw an opening at Batchfire Resources and jumped at the chance to climb aboard a dump truck at the Callide Mine – doing her dream job.

“I was lucky enough to get a start in the trucks on a 12-month traineeship, which I finished.

“I then got some more experience before spending time in the water cart as well, and now I’m the Health and Safety Crew Representative as well.

“I’m trying to work my way up I guess!”

While she makes it look easy these days, starting out in such big trucks came with a steep learning curve – but Bek embraced every moment of it.

“It is really scary at first, with the sheer size and scale of the trucks, but you also do think you’re pretty cool.

“As I realised just how potentially hazardous it can be, it scared me quite a lot, but that’s why I’m huge on safety and following the rules – I’m a bit of a square bear.”

When asked if she was gunning for an office role as she continues to progress through the ranks, Bek was quick to point out that she prefers the view from the cab of a truck.

“I definitely prefer being out in the field rather than in the office – been there, done that!

“I’m more so wanting to join the Emergency Response Team and work on the mine rescue side of things.

“I would also like to become a trainer and assessor!”

Bek’s advice for anybody looking at a career change, particularly women considering a career in mining, is simple – give it a go.

“I’d say give it a go, because at the end of the day, it isn’t for everybody but, if you don’t give it a go, you won’t know.

“In fact, women are overtaking our crew out here at the moment, and the mindset is changing amongst the older guys when they realise how good the women are.

“You can really go anywhere you want once you’re in there – you’ve just got to be focused and driven.”

For Bek and her partner, the resources industry has helped them achieve their dream life, and the Batchfire Resources lifestyle roster at Callide Mine is the icing on the cake for them.

“I look back now at what our life was like before this, how much we struggled, and we’ve just got a whole new life now – since entering the mining industry.

“I love the lifestyle roster; I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ve done seven-on and seven-off at another mine and I really didn’t like it.

“Now we’re just laughing!”

Callide International Women's Day
Michelle Collocott.

Michelle Collocott has had a full circle journey at Batchfire Resources, from the haul roads of Callide to the office…and back again!

Local high school teacher Michelle Collocott wanted a change, and with an unrelenting drought putting financial pressure on many of the region’s farming families, she looked to Batchfire’s successful New to Industry (NTI) program.

“I was a high school teacher at Redeemer Lutheran College in Biloela, but it was a part-time position and we looked for avenues to overcome the financial challenges with the drought affecting our farm.

“I always wanted to be in the mines and when I saw an employment opportunity on Seek advertising for new to industry operators at Batchfire Resources, I went for it.”

Michelle wasn’t sure if her background and age would make her a suitable applicant, but her farming experience helped her secure a semi-skilled operator role right out of the gate.

“I was very nervous at the time, due to my age and background. I was 42 years old when I completed a new to industry traineeship – a Cert II in Open Cut Surface Extraction – but it turned out that neither was a problem.

“I was employed as a semi-skilled operator due to my experience on Moxy articulated dump trucks and farm machinery.”

Across the next five years at Callide Mine, employed by Workpac under the new to industry program, Michelle gained invaluable experience operating an array of our biggest and best machinery.

“I received competencies for all the trucks on site, such as Komatsu 930E, Cat 785, Cat 789, Hitachi 4500 and Hitachi 5000 as well as various Water Carts. I also achieved competency in a Grader 16H skill.”

After proving herself as a skilled operator, Michelle wanted to try something new after seeing a position advertised for a Business Services Officer (BSO) in Mine Administration at Callide Mine.

“I decided at that point to pursue the position in Administration at Callide because I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn new skills and experience what happens behind the scenes in the mining industry.”

Michelle secured the BSO position and excelled from the get-go, but after 12 months in the office chair, she was beginning to miss the cab of a truck. Just like that, she began transitioning back to operating machinery.

“I have always enjoyed being on the machines, but I am going to miss all the wonderful people I have met and had the privilege to work alongside during my time in Administration.

“We are all from different walks of life, yet we are all passionate about our jobs and ensuring our families’ futures are secure for many years to come.”

A driving force behind Michelle’s decision to step back into an operator role was the Flexi-Crew dayshift roster Batchfire Resources offers at its Boundary Hill site, allowing her to spend more time with her family.

“I am looking forward to being part of the Flexi-Crew on the 5/4 dayshift-only roster.

“I am based at Boundary Hill for my new position, which is fantastic, as it allows me to be at home more often on our family farm near Goovigen.”

Around 85 per cent of the employees at Batchfire Resources live within the Callide Valley, which Michelle says is a commendable achievement.

“I think any company that provides employment opportunities for people living within their local area needs to be recognised, not only for their achievements in productivity but for their ability to successfully manage and create inclusion and diversity within their workforce.

“I will be forever thankful for the opportunities Batchfire and Workpac have provided me.”

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