Queensland mentoring program for women in mining

Women determined to upset the status quo in the male-dominated mining industry will receive an extra boost as a mentoring program targeted at increasing female participation launches in Queensland.

This year, a record 140 female resources sector employees from across the state – up almost 90 per cent on last year’s intake – are set to participate in the ninth year of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC)/Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) Mentoring Program.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said now was the perfect time to be building on the sector’s talent pool, because the sector was facing a critical skills shortage.

“Queensland’s minerals and energy sector is in a period of sustained growth, and our future has never been brighter, due to the fact we are highly prospective for a unique and diverse mix of traditional and renewable resources, which will lead to a whole lot of new opportunities for our state and for every Queenslander in terms of long-term jobs and economic security,” he said.

“Proving gender is no barrier to a diverse range of careers in Queensland’s resources sector, among this year’s mentees are engineers, tradespeople, data analysts, machine operators and human resources specialists – just to name a few – who want to build on their skills and capabilities.”

WIMARQ Co-Chair and QRC Board Director Rob Jackson said the resources sector regularly reviewed its performance and set new diversity goals.

“Women make up 20 per cent of the sector’s workforce, with almost 7,000 now directly employed in on and off-site roles, which is the result of deliberate goals and actions from across the sector over the last 15 years,” he said.

“We are striving to do even better. The QRC is forging ahead with plans to encourage member companies to reach 30 per cent female workforce participation by 2026.”

WIMARQ Co-Chair Sally Rayner said the mentoring program provides formal mentoring for women working in Queensland’s minerals and energy sectors, aiding in improving retention and progression of women in these sectors.

“The program has been extremely successful. By the end of last year’s program, almost 450 women had graduated from the program, with 96 per cent of those surveyed saying it has had a positive impact on their career,” she said.

“Inviting, encouraging, developing and retaining talented women to work in our sector means we are a lot closer to ensuring the longevity of our industry, because a diverse workplace culture is a stronger, smarter and more inclusive environment in which people can thrive.”

The aim of the QRC/WIMARQ Women’s Mentoring Program is to provide a structured, sustainable mentoring process that supports mentees through career guidance and direction by sharing mentor/mentee experiences, developing goals and forging exceptional mentoring relationships beyond the program’s duration.

The 2022 QRC/WIMARQ Women’s Mentoring Program is sponsored by Rio Tinto, Thiess, QAL, Alchemy Recruitment and Consulting, Idemitsu and Yancoal. The program is delivered by Metisphere.

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