Melinda is a Maintenance Team Leader for Campaign Planning Team and works for Woodside Energy
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Whilst planning kept me close to my trade, I’ve enjoyed moving to a leadership role, being able to move out of the technical element and start building a more strategic skillset looking for ways to plan and execute maintenance in a more efficient and effective manner.
Describe your career path to your current job?
I worked as a Trades Assistant for a mining contractor for a couple of years doing all sorts of work before gaining a Mechanical Fitter Apprenticeship in Oil & Gas. I spent a number of years as a Maintenance Technician before moving to the planning office. I moved to Lead Resource Estimator/Planner role after returning from parental leave and shortly after was given the opportunity to build on my business improvement skills in an efficiency coordination role. That really gave me the foundations for the Maintenance Team Leader role I am in now.
What attracted you to a career in mining & resources?
To be honest I fell into the industry after I moved to the Pilbara looking to fill my gap year with some new experiences. Working with my hands had always been appealing to me, yet the concept of a female tradesperson was something completely foreign and unusual. I was attracted to the prospect of building a long-term career doing something I enjoyed, in an exciting industry that was moving quickly.
How do you juggle working in mining and resources with family life, personal interests and other commitments outside work?
I work a Monday-Friday roster so it’s not too impactful. Sure, we have occasions where we need to work flexibly to react to plant conditions and shutdown periods, but that’s part of the job. In these Pilbara communities, we are all in the same boat, we all work together and play together and that builds some fantastic relationships in that we help each other out where we need it.
What do you think of the general perception that mining and resources is a male-dominated sector?
I think that general perception is correct. I’ve been in this industry for 18 years and although it’s no longer unusual to see women on sites and in camps, and we are taking our place at the table, it is still very much a male-dominated industry.
What advice would you give to other women considering a career in the sector?
Give it a go! Find your network, link in with other women, know that there will be challenges but this is a career that is well worth it if you have the passion.
What’s the biggest thing you would like other women to know about working in mining and resources?
It’s not all hard-hats and high-vis! There are so many different roles to play, the opportunities stretch further and wider than you realise.
What initiatives/policies has your employer put in place to encourage more women to be involved in the sector?
Flexible working arrangements enabling the balance between work commitments and the unpredictable nature of being a mum and wife – COVID certainly hastened the evolution but we are now reaping the benefits of remote working and connectivity.