This particular posting was first put up on this blog in February 2008. Since then it has attracted a great number of readers and a fair share of insightful, sad, and pointed comments. I urge you to read this posting, read the comments, and then read an update that I wrote and posted on the topic in late August 2008. I could never have written the August 2008 posting if I had not learnt from those who commented on the original piece, presented unedited below.
April 2012 Comment. Many comments come in on this posting. I read them all, but sadly cannot help most who ask me to get them a job in Australia. Here is one comment that I urge you to read before delving too deeply into this topic.
Thanks so much for keeping this post updated, Jack. One thing I would add about requirements for working in Australia – most mines want someone with at least 2 years of site experience. Australia is full of truck drivers with all the appropriate licences and tickets and plenty of experience. Without the 2 years mine site experience, they are having difficulty getting in. It will be much worse for any migrant working expecting to get in. Still, we have a big shortage of workers here. We need skills, We need people willing to work long, hard hours with punishing rosters in very remote locations. The salary packages are incredibly generous and Australia is a great place to live and raise a family. It’s just not as easy to get into the Australian mining industry as the media would have you believe. firstname.lastname@example.org
Undated but always timely: Please see this link to avoid being scammed into a non-existent job as a truck driver at a non-existent mine.
More on Being Scammed, 2012: Here is a link to a serious story about folk who are looking for Australian mining jobs being scammed. Please read it before forking out money to somebody promising to get you a job at an Australian mine. Here is a summary of the story:
David Macartney, was charged with four counts of obtaining money by deception and two counts of attempting to dishonestly obtain money after running a mining recruitment scam in Queensland. The charges allege he defrauded six people out of more than $32,000 after falsely recruiting them to work for a major Western Australian mining company.
10 October 2010: Most of this posting deals with truck driving at mines. Do not forget, however, that most mines also need bus drivers. Thus if you cannot sign on as a truck driver, seek a job as a bus driver. Probably pays as much and is easier and warmer. I was reminded of these facts when I recently visited the HECLA mine of Greens Creek in Alaska. We took the ferry across the choppy waters to Admiralty Island where there were four busses awaiting us. We took the bus across the island to Hawk Inlet and the Cannery. The bus driver was a large, genial fellow who joked with us as we tried to find a seat in the crowded bus. I noticed that once he had delivered us to the camp, he too came into the dining room for a good breakfast of eggs and bacon washed down with copious coffee. At the oil sands sites in north Alberta, there are seemingly more busses than mine trucks. They transport most of the mine staff the 30 or so kilometers from Fort McMurray to the mine itself. I have not yet ridden in one, but friends who do tell me thay are always nice and warm and confortable. So do not forget about the bus in your search for the truck
1 October 2010: Fall has come and winter is not too far away. That reminded me of truck drivers on the Canadian ice roads. I sometimes fly to the diamond mines in the Northwest Territories serviced by these roads. I always marvel at the terrain through which they pass. I know some of the engineers, now retired, who pioneered the ice road technology. They are bold men. But bravest of all are the drivers of those great trucks through the frozen wilderness. Here is a link to a site that promises to help you get a job as an ice road truck driver. Far from Australia, but the ideas in the book apply generally to what needs to be done to get the job you want.
March 2010: I have been working at Suncor, Fort McMurray, Alberta recently. We have had 45 truck (upto 40 tonnes) on a project moving large amounts of material to build the cover of a tailings dam. I was privileged to ride in a Moxie with a lady whom I like. She is a grandmother and, like me, has many grandchildren. She is a superb truck driver and tell me she is “making lots of money so the kids and grandkids respect her.” When I ride with her in her truck, I wonder why anybody would go to Australia for a job as a truck driver when there are also opportunities in Alberta on the oil sands mines. Keep in mind the Canadian oil sands mines move more material than all the mines in Australia combined. So read below about the jobs as truck drivers in Australia, but keep Alberta and its opportunities in mind.
November 2009: This blog item still continues to attract about 10 to 15 hits a day. This tells me a lot of people are still looking for a job related to trucks in the Australian mining industry. What that means to you as an individual job seeker, I am not sure. Other than that there is probably a lot of competition out there for a limited number of jobs. What can I say other than good luck with your search, and please post a comment below to guide & help others who may be in a similar situation.
December 2009. I found this site that adds a bit to the overall picture. They say the following and then direct you to their jobs site—which may work for you, but do not part with money to them or anybody else before you are sure they are genuine:
Due to the popularity of this position, you may find it difficult to obtain this position without obtaining expert advice. A large number of people who apply for dump truck positions, often find their application for a dump truck driving role is continuously rejected. To gain employment as a dump truck driver, you will need to ensure that you meet of all the requirements set out by the mining companies.
There are other so-called job-assistance websites out there. Call around to check out their credentials before you commit to them. Keep in mind, at the least you need the right driver’s licenses, a bit of experience if you can get it, and better still a friend or relative in the industry. If you have none of these, be prepared for a slog and a hard one at that. For example, here is what one ad I found demands that you have:
- Current HR Drivers Licence
- Abilty to pass a Pre-employment Medical
- Ability to pass a Drug and Alchol screen
- Abillty to pass a Police Clearance.
- Be an Australian Resident
- Have at least 12 months experience on a Komatsu 785, CAT 777, or CAT 785.
Others have succeeded–so can you—so keep at it.
THE ORIGINAL FEBRUARY 2008 POSTING—-AND STILL WORTH READING
This cry comes from Australia, but the issue is relevant the world over in all areas of employment and particularly in mining.
Every magazine is filled with profound articles decrying the shortage of workers in the mining industry. There are innumerable conference presentations on the same topic. There are even government-sponsored organizations making comfortable livings out of tallying the statistics and documenting suggestions about moving laid-off auto workers and forestry fellows into mining.
I have long suspected that the issue of a shortage of workers in mining is as much a fashion as any aspect of journalism: a topic written to death because it is ready at hand and easy to opine about. But does this plethora of print & opinion truly reflect a dearth of workers?
The only true measure is the salaries mines are prepared to pay for a required class of worker. Take a look at the new reports from CostMine to establish if your work area is truly in short supply. If you could earn the same working for the local town government or the state government or maybe another industry in your area, then, I submit, there is no real shortage in the mining industry, regardless of what is written and said at conferences.
Here is a copy of an e-mail sent to a friend from somebody in Australia. One cannot help but wonder why such a writer and her male friend are not already deep in a staff-starved mining industry. I invite you to read this and contact them and tell them how to get employed. Or write me and I will post your advice to them. I edit the following for context:
Hi my name’s Teri from Melbourne. Just an idea that you may wish to take on board. If you don’t, I at least feel better having written it. I have spent five hours a day for the previous week searching for positions within the Mining Sector. The media hype cries out -shortage of workers…. Yet no-one is prepared to give you that elusive experience. I have found hundreds of blogs on the web voicing the same concerns.
Perhaps you could include a space on your website for genuine opportunity seekers that have the qualifications the experience!! Someone needs to make the obvious move. I would love an Employer to read the types of genuine people out there eager to do whatever it takes to get a good job! Take my partner and I.
After beginning his transport experience in the Army he discovered that there wasn’t anthing with wheels that he couldn’t drive. He is a natural… above all a decent Driver. Impeccable driving history, he recently got his Dump Truck licence, turned to me and said ‘We’re going to kick some serious financial butt.. over the next few years”.
But there’s not a butt in sight… not even the sniff of an interview in sight. That magic work experience is the red light!! We are both ready for a challenge, we thrive on trying new things. I am geared up to leave my gym background and do unskilled labour to be with him. Yet I have not found one of these unskilled positions listed anywhere. Where are these jobs hiding?
Come on Employers… your truck sits empty, whilst good drivers are itching to jump in and do what they love to do. Where is the sense in that? Restructure the work – maybe a lower pay until they prove themselves. But let them prove themselves. P.l.e.a.s.e.
Contact email@example.com if you have an opportunity for her and her driver.