The first cohort of new production and maintenance supervisors have ticked off their first week as part of a new BMA program designed to recruit and train more leaders from diverse backgrounds.
A first of its kind for BMA, the program was created to provide an opportunity for those with strong leadership skills to allow them to practically learn about the business while also enhancing the skills and behaviours necessary to lead and inspire teams.
Christine Ashby, one of the 44 successful applicants, has worked in the mining industry for almost 10 years in roles spanning from health and safety, training and more recently as a haul truck operator. Throughout her time she’s taken any opportunity to lead work and learn about the industry, but with few females in site leadership roles, she didn’t know how to take the next step in her career.
“I was actually encouraged by a colleague to apply – she knew I wanted leadership experience but I honestly didn’t think anything would come from it,” Christine said.
“You don’t see too many female prestrip supervisors so when I was told I had a role in the program I was quite surprised! I’m thrilled to have this opportunity and I know this program will provide all the right foundations I need to develop as a leader but also deliver value to the operation.”
Having started her career at Mount Isa Mines, Christine has noticed a significant shift towards greater inclusion and diversity in the sector, but admits there is still some way to go.
“It’s not always easy being a female in the mining industry and I’ve had some tough experiences, but it’s getting better. Programs like this play such an important role towards changing the culture for the better as it’s setting us up for success from the start. The business is providing the right training, what we need to become strong team leaders and laying out what’s expected of us,” Christine said.
The first week saw the developing supervisors complete their core inductions and hear from some of BMA’s senior leaders on topics ranging from Safety and Health Management Systems (SHMS) and obligations under the Queensland coal mining legislation, to learning about mental wellness and creating a high performing culture in the workplace.
“I’m really looking forward to learning from the great supervisors in our business. It’s really the best of both worlds – while we’re getting all the theoretical information through the program, we’re also shadowing a leader for the 18-month period on site – learning from their skills and industry knowledge,” Christine said.
The developing supervisors still have almost 18 months to go until they commence work in an official supervisor capacity, however will spend the remainder of the program enhancing their technical experience, completing legislative coal competencies, developing operational leadership skills and learning how to build and develop workforce capability in coal mining.