Thiess sisters doing it for themselves

Launched in 2013, Thiess’ Sisters in Mining (SIM) program enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to transition into the mining sector as trainee haul truck drivers.

The SIM Program was born out of Thiess’ reconciliation commitment to ensuring the economic benefits of mining contribute to, and empower, the culture and social aspirations of our First Nations peoples through the creation of long-term employment opportunities.

The program begins with a seven-day, pre-employment program to kick start their career in the mining industry. Building on participants’ prior experience and their preferred learning style, the 12-month program integrates on the job coaching, training in haul truck simulators, as well as structured learning through a vocational education and training (VET) course in Surface Extraction Operations.

Studies undertaken during the traineeship contribute to a nationally recognised qualification in Surface Extraction Operations.

Following successful completion of the program, most women take up permanent full-time positions as haul truck operators. In addition to the career-enhancing technical competencies acquired, participants receive important life-skills training and mentoring throughout the traineeship.

Now in its 10th year, the program has been rolled out across central Queensland projects including Curragh North, Lake Vermont, Caval Ridge and Peak Downs. The program has supported 75 women through to successful completion, with around 90 per cent of those women offered employment at Thiess.

The program is seen as pivotal to increasing the number of women in a traditionally male-dominated mining and resources industry.

Program partner, the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DSDSATSIP), sees the lasting value the Sisters in Mining program brings.

Program Manager Rockhampton Central Queensland Region for DSDSATSIP, David Thompson, said beyond creating resource sector jobs, it empowers women to pursue aspirations in work and beyond, as role models and community leaders.

“We are proud to play a part in connecting Queenslanders with lifechanging opportunities,” he said.

Through sustainable employment, Sisters in Mining transforms lives and communities and brings valued team members and real benefits to our business.

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