Succeeding in the mining industry requires project management skills to keep several balls in the air at once. An average day can include tasks like managing large workforces, engaging contractors, sourcing plant and other equipment, keeping a close eye on budgets, and much more.
An obvious first step on the path to such a career is a Diploma of Project Management (BSB51415), a Diploma of Building and Construction Management (CPC50308), or both. Management in mining is a very high earning career for good reason, as a talented project manager or construction manager can save an employer from substantial losses on big mining projects through experience, staying calm under pressure, and being pragmatic.
Both qualifications are incredibly useful in the mining industry, and a double diploma has the potential to accelerate your earning ability in the mining sphere, where the average worker earns $100,000 per year or more. These qualifications are equally as helpful to those already working in the mining industry as it is to those wanting to join it. So, what’s the next step?
Careers in the mining industry
The mining industry’s sheer scale means there are dozens of career paths associated with it in Australia. Creating and commissioning an open-cut mine is estimated to cost at least $500 million (and usually far more). This represents an enormous investment, and it takes many years to recover start-up costs before making a profit. That means a lot of skilled workers with a diverse range of specialties are required. Truck drivers, riggers, excavators, crane operators and maintenance technicians play a pivotal role ‘on the tools’, while there’s a host of supervisory and management positions that require filling too.
Workers who have spent time in more labour-intensive mining jobs, and who develop a real connection to the industry, see the advantages of transitioning to careers in the project or construction management sphere. Some do so to capitalise on their experience, create a work/family life balance, or because heavy manual labour is no longer an attractive option. Getting qualified in management at a diploma level is an essential prerequisite for these roles.
The College for Adult Learning offers integrated diploma courses, with learning coaches and mining industry experts available to help. Online courses can be undertaken at the students’ own pace, 24/7, in order to maximise career potential. Project Management and Building Construction Management qualifications are helpful for opening doors to senior roles in one of our country’s great industries. Getting a double diploma in both disciplines gives employers more reason to consider you for relevant roles and promotion pathways.
Although mining activity is mostly tied to resource prices, even ‘slow’ periods are incredibly important to Australia’s financial fortunes. Iron ore exports alone are worth roughly $100 billion every year to our economy. It’s a large scale, high-stakes industry which sets platinum standards for employees in return for good wages and career prospects. Project managers are at the pinnacle of these opportunities. As such, project managers and construction managers in mining, require sound communication and leadership skills, a first-rate ability to plan major projects involving thousands of employees, a solid understanding of workplace OHS procedures, attention to detail, and more.
Overseeing projects which may require billions of dollars in infrastructure investment brings a unique level of pressure. Making decisions under such time and financial constraints come with the territory, so a solid understanding of finance is critical. All these skills start with formal qualifications such as a Diploma of Project Management (BSB51415) or Building and Construction Management, even if you’ve already gained experience in the mining industry.
How to get into the mining industry
More than 230,000 Australians work in the mining industry, a figure that’s increased by 4.6% in the past five years. That represents almost 2% of the entire Australian workforce, which gives you an idea of its’ importance to the broader economy. In the next five years, that workforce is expected to grow by a further 20,000, so there is still plenty of employment opportunities going. At entry-level, you’re more likely to be engaged in roles that don’t involve fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work, as mining companies tend to employ more experienced workers at these sites. Most entry-level vacancies are found in regional operations and can involve long-term relocation to work on-site.
Getting qualifications in fields like civil, electrical or mechanical engineering is a definite advantage, as is most trades. There are also many types of ‘tickets’, or licenses and training qualifications available, in more specific areas of mining. However, these can be very expensive and possibly better undertaken once you’ve secured a job. Like any industry, establishing contacts within mining (and maintaining them) is an excellent way to hear of any opportunities as soon as they arise. Recruitment and labour-hire companies can also help provide advice on your career into mining, specific to your situation. Gaining a foot in the door in the best start to get as much experience as you can in the various aspect of mining.
How to Upskill and Achieve a Qualification When Working FIFO
Many employers offer short or long-term work placements for potential employees who are undertaking study, to give them a first-hand look at the industry for which they have a real passion. Getting the right qualifications can allow you to specialise in other aspects of the mining industry, such as transport infrastructure, building inspection, or health and safety fields. A double diploma in Project Management or Building Construction Management sets you on the path to these and many other specialties within the mining industry. The College for Adult Learning’s online diploma courses let you organise study around other commitments, with the bonus of achieving qualifications that are recognised Australia-wide.
A day in the life of a mining project manager
Think of the project or construction manager as the ringmaster of a fast-paced, dynamic, high-stakes arena. They are, by definition, the critical point of contact for everyone working on or off-site. They plan, direct, and execute almost every level of operations.
Although delegation is an essential aspect of the role, the buck ultimately stops with the project or construction manager. They are responsible for adherence to strict building regulations, liaising with architects and engineers, maintaining quality control, and possibly supervising multiple sites. Therefore, it makes sense that ‘hands-on’ experience in the mining industry is of enormous benefit to succeeding as a manager. A well-rounded project manager will understand the day-to-day challenges from multiple points of view. They will have the respect of their team because they possess the qualifications, experience, and ability to keep an eye on the ‘bigger picture’.
Lay the foundations for a study path to the best jobs in the mining industry
Laying the foundations for a leadership role in mining can open many doors, offer excellent financial rewards and almost limitless opportunities in mining.Like any project, beginning with the end in mind is crucial to success. Set a long-term goal for where you are heading and work backwards from the future to where you are now. Then plan out a study path that will get you there for the best value and in the shortest time. Take advantage of career and learning coaching to assist you in making the best choices for you. Selecting the right diploma qualification for you will make for a strong beginning for your future success in the mining industry.