The drilling industry is encouraging more women into its ranks.
Most drill rigs are still single-sex says Australian Drilling Industry Association board member, Charters Towers driller and outlier Sally Forgan.
Ms Forgan says there’s pressure to change the balance.
“There is a shortage in our industry … especially attracting new talent to the pool is quite problematic sometimes,” she says.
“There is a portion of young people who, I guess, haven’t been exposed to a labour intensive role, which is part of teamwork and very rewarding in its own way. The drilling industry isn’t for everyone but the people that do stick into it long term get a lot in return.
“I guess that attraction for young men and women to know that drilling is available for them can be problematic sometimes because we’re out in the field more than being in town. So exposure for those job roles sometimes is hard to get across to potential candidates.”
Opportunities for women
The ADIA estimates one percent of the drilling labour force is female. That means there’s half the population that could swell their ranks says Ms Forgan.
“I do believe that we need to market the industry a little bit better to catch that talent pool.”
“Effectively, we’re not engaging with women who can be a part of a workforce. We are cutting our talent pool prosperity by 50 percent, which is not great.
“That’s in the field, but also there are other positions that women can be involved in our industry and that can be administration, finance, TA’s (Trades Assistants), fitters, store personnel, and so on.”
Rewards on offer
Ms Forgan says the industry offers many rewards for both men and women who are prepared to take the opportunity.
“It’s just not about putting a hole in the ground so to speak. There are certainly other aspects (including) dealing with your down hole pressures, your weight, like your force behind the bit.
“It’s not complex but there is some thought and some method into it to be good at what you do.
“When something is found and something is developed and there’s rolling media on it whether it’s a gold deposit, or just a really positive program for the year that has worked exceptionally well, there is a fair bit of ownership in the team.
“We all want to do well at our jobs and as a team and we represent what we work for and who we work for. I feel every person is a part of our organization (and) when they are a part of something great like that, everyone is proud.”
Ms Forgan has been helping promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) opportunities in North Queensland schools in an Association of Mining and Exploration Companies initiative.