Australia wants to encourage more women into the mining and resources industries and has set aside $440,000 to do so.

The money is to be used to extend an e-mentoring program, designed to partner up women working in the male-dominated resources industries, often on remote locations like oil rigs, with corporate mentors working in other states and on other projects.

The program, created by the Australian Women in Resources Alliance and the Australian Mines and Metal’s Association, seeks to encourage more women to pursue careers in mining, oil and gas.

Women make up just 15% of the mining industry workforce, which compares to 46% across other industries. The programme allows young female workers to have e-chats and web-based training with an individually appointed mentor for nine months.

A female engineer born in Chile has explained how working in the Australian mining industry was a dream come true. From the mining town of Calama, close to Chuquicamata, which is one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world, Gladys Rivera explained that her grandfather was a miner and most of family members work in mining as well.

‘I knew that Australia is one of the largest natural resources countries in the world, as well as Chile, and I dreamed about coming to a different sort of society where I could improve my lifestyle,’ she said.

After qualifying as an engineer, Australia loomed large on her list of destinations, so she used the SkillSelect website to get a visa and is now working on the Gorgon project, which is one of the largest natural resources projects in the world.

‘It is a very interesting and challenging experience. Every day we have to face different issues and you have to deal with different circumstances with different people to solve them,’ she said.

‘It’s easy to live here because Australians give you the opportunity to learn and to improve, regardless of whether or not you are Australian, so that’s a fantastic thing from a career point of view and from a personal point of view. You don’t feel like you don’t belong. You are part of the society and you have the same opportunities that everybody has,’ she explained.

She loves the variety her new home town offers; the tranquillity, the beaches, the café strips, all within easy reach after a day at the office. Her advice to others thinking about moving to Australia is to go for it.

‘You can do it if you want to, if you really want to. You won’t regret it, this is a great experience where you can learn, not only from a professional point of view but also as a personal experience, it’s a great life experience. And you will receive lots of things back that you never expected. If you can do it, go for it. Living in Australia is a really amazing experience,’ she said.

Source: Australia Forum

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