Resources sector needs more women to remain globally competitive


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Craig McCabe - General Manager Wesfarmers Curragh Coal Mine Winner Gender Diversity Champion

Queensland’s resources sector needs to attract more women to remain globally competitive according to Craig McCabe, General Manager Wesfarmers Curragh Coal Mine, who was today presented with the Gender Diversity Champion award in the Queensland Resources Council’s Resources Awards for Women. 

Craig has a strong record in redressing the gender imbalance at Curragh by targeting women in recruitment for trade and technical roles, development and identification of women for senior roles, flexible working arrangements, and supporting Women in Mining and Resources Queensland events.

The figures speak for themselves. Since 2011, the proportion of women at Curragh has risen from 11 percent to 15.3 percent, and Craig says with it has come a positive shift in culture.

He says the company’s female leaders communicate in a manner more consistent with the creation of a better informed, empowered and engaged workforce.

However, Craig says there’s still a way to go.

‘I want to start having brave and open conversations about why some men find it difficult to relate professionally with women in our industry and what needs to be done about it.’ He said.

‘Mining has traditionally been a male dominated industry - but this is one tradition that we don’t want to continue with in the future – we actually cannot afford to.

‘If half of the population believe our industry isn’t attractive then we will not have the technical and leadership talent we need to remain globally competitive in the future. And if half the population aren’t involved in the conversations and the decisions we make on the job then we’re not going to get the innovative ideas needed to remain competitive and sustainable in the longer term.’

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche says the awards, which lift the profile of women in the minerals and energy sector and provide a cohort of female industry ambassadors, are part of the QRC's plan to increase the proportion of women in 'non-traditional' roles in the resources sector to 20 percent by 2020.

'I congratulate Craig on his significant achievements in redressing the gender imbalance in our sector,’ he said.

‘It will take men and women working together to reach our sector’s target of 20 percent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.

'The good news is that we are on track though with our 2012-13 returns showing women make up 17 percent of our overall workforce, up from 14 percent in 2011-12.

‘The proportion of women working in our sector in non-traditional roles, which include senior management, engineering, trades, geology and operators, has increased from 11.9 in financial year 2011-12 to 13.5 percent in 2012-13.

‘The proportion of women who are executive managers rose from 7 percent to 9 percent, project management from 8 percent to 21 percent, superintendents from 13 percent to 19 percent and supervisors from 5 percent to 7 percent.

‘Female engineers increased from 12 to 15 percent, and geologists up 1 percent to 32 percent. The proportion of operators also rose 1 percent to 10 percent.

‘Disappointingly though, the proportion of female trades people languishes at just 2 percent of the trades workforce. We have a lot more work to do in this area, and not just for women. Trade training needs to come into the 21st century.

It’s an area where QRC is working hard with governments and the skills and training sector for better outcomes. I was privileged to chair the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce in 2012 and its final report proposed a number of trade training reforms, which are now being implemented by the Queensland Government.

‘While our statistics continue to trend upwards, we know that we need to keep a sharp focus on measures to ensure that the resources sector is attractive to women, and provides a working environment that encourages them to stay.'

The awards were presented by the Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Lisa France, President of the QRC Rob Neale and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland Chair Jules Blunt.

Full list of winners:

Winner: Laura Tyler Asset President, BHP Billiton Cannington Mine
Highly Commended: Linda Murry, Planning & Logistics Manager - Weipa, Rio Tinto Alcan; Amy Hodson-Clarke, Well Engineering and Technology Manager, Geodynamics Limited; Leisa Elder, Vice President, Community & Sustainable Development, Arrow Energy.

Rising Star
Winner: Cindy Emmett, Anglo Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Anglo American Metallurgical Coal, Moranbah North Mine
Highly Commended: Roxy Quirk, Prestrip Contracts Senior Analyst, BMA Goonyella Riverside Mine; Monica Joseph Electrical Engineer, Zinc-Lead Concentrator, Glencore Mount Isa Mines.

Winner: Amy Woods, Underground Install electrician Glencore Mount Isa Mines
Highly Commended: Megan Turner, Fourth-year Apprentice Diesel Fitter, Anglo American; Hayley Daniels, Supervisor Field Maintenance Electrician, BMA Coal Blackwater Mine

Winner: Leah Ross, Superintendent, Open Pit Operations, Thiess Mining Curragh North Coal Mine
Highly Commended: Elisha Lauren Beresford, Head Operator Trainer/Multi-skilled Operator, Thiess Mining Curragh North Mine; Megan Hetherington, Cablebolter Glencore Mount Isa Copper Operations

Gender Diversity Champion
Winner: Craig McCabe, General Manager, Wesfarmers Curragh Coal Mine
Highly Commended: Ben Bradley, Manager Human Resources, BMA Caval Ridge Mine; Penny Hamilton, Diversity Officer, Thiess Australian Mining.

Best Company Initiative:
Winner: BMA - Daunia and Caval Ridge mine diversity program
Highly Commended:Thiess/Wesfarmers Curragh ‘Oothungs (Sisters) in Mining; Wesfarmers Resources Wesfarmers Resources’ Women in Resources program

Queensland Resources Council
7th of March 2014


Queensland Resources Council (QRC) :
Level 13, 133 Mary Street, Brisbane
07 3295 9560
07 3295 9560
Queensland Resources Council (QRC)

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