Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources
Winner – Stuart Forrester
Narngulu Operations Manager, Iluka (WA)
Stuart's passion for diversity comes from his belief that a diverse team creates a challenging workplace that facilitates flexibility and drives growth through differing values, skill sets and backgrounds.
This passion is reflected in the work Stuart has been undertaking with the Clontarf Academy and more recently the SHINE program, an education program established in Western Australia.
Stuart believes when you employ the right person, it is much easier and takes less time to up-skill people than change people's values and behaviours.
Iluka needed to recruit people with values and behaviours that aligned with the company's, so Stuart facilitated a fundamental change to the way Iluka approached recruitment. The job criterion was altered in order to attract people without previous mining experience.
Given that it is difficult to pick up on values and standards of behaviours when reading a resume, it was necessary to broaden the scope of who was interviewed.
The interview process was modified to include questions that explored applicants' commitment, integrity and responsibility, which are Iluka's key values.
It was important to have a solid process for up-skilling people who came into the business with no previous experience, so at the same time Stuart improved their training systems to meet the needs of new recruits who had the right values and behaviours, but would need more training to carry out their jobs.
By adopting a new approach to recruitment, the number of female employees at Iluka's Narngulu operation increased from 16.5% in 2012 to 25.4% in 2013 and from zero to 20% in operations crews over the past three years.
Instead of one demographic with similar backgrounds reinforcing certain dominant behaviours, Narngulu now has male, female and Indigenous employees of different ages from a range of backgrounds, expertise and experience and a more consistent and higher standard of behaviours.
Iluka’s new recruitment process adds to the company’s reputation within the local, mining and broader communities, with an increasing perception (now reality!) that they provide opportunities for all individuals.
Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance
Winner – St Barbara Limited (WA)
Initiative: Eliminating the equity pay gap
St Barbara has implemented a systematic and sustainable approach to reduce the pay equity gap. Seven years ago the human resources (HR) practices at St Barbara were transactional, consisting mostly of recruitment with no linkage to the business strategy. A remuneration strategy did not exist and the pay equity gap was a staggering 43%.
From a standing-start in 2007, St Barbara now has in place a HR Strategy that is hard-wired to the company’s business strategy and approved by the Board. The success of each of the six strategic HR priorities is underpinned by diversity. To support these priorities a comprehensive Talent Management Framework has been implemented. Consistent with the strategic HR priorities, in respect of gender diversity, St Barbara now has:
• a competitive and effective remuneration system
• industry-leading parental leave provisions including attractive return to work incentives
• a gender diversity policy
• robust gender diversity targets to measure success.
These initiatives are approved by the board, led by the executive leadership team, and reviewed regularly by the board.
The gap has reduced from 43% in 2007 to 11.7% in 2014.
Outstanding Australian Tradeswomen, Operator or Technician
Winner - Katherine George
Managing Director/Owner (Tas)
In 1980, at the age of 19 Katherine was employed as the first ever female (outside of cleaning/office staff) on at the Electrolytic Zinc Company, now Nyrstar, in Risdon Tasmania.
She completed a dual trade apprenticeship as an A grade electrician and as an industrial instrument mechanic and was awarded State Electrical apprenticeship of the year at EZ and Statewide.
‘It is from these apprenticeships that I obtained the invaluable electrical skills and trade that I continue to use today and that have ensured that I manage and maintain a successful business,’ said Katherine.
Since then she has worked at the Shell Oil refinery in Geelong and Peko Wallsend Limited gold mine at Warrego in the Northern Territory.
After the completion of the contract at the gold mine in Warregon, NT, Katherine and her then husband were contracted to help develop On–Stream Analytical equipment to assist in the extraction of minerals from solution to increase plant efficiency for EZ at Risdon and travelled back to Tasmania to work on this development.
This resulted in the company manufacturing patented equipment for the zinc mining sector under License to EZ. They sold this ground breaking technology into other sites in Australia, Norway and South America. This equipment/technology is still in use today.
‘I have worked on mine sites such as Roxby Downs in SA, Bluestone Tin Mine Tasmania and still to this day regularly visit/work at Nystar in Risdon, Bluestone Tin Mine and Unity Mining’s Henty Goldmine in Tasmania to name a few.’
About 15 years ago Katherine became the first person in the world to repair a specific piece of electronic equipment for Sandvik Mining underground drilling machines.
‘Until that point they were throwing the expensive pieces of equipment away and replacing with new. We are still doing repairs for Sandvik Mining to this day which are shipped to us from around Australia.’
‘I have always been an advocate for women not only in the mining sector but also in trades and engineering. I feel that the mining sector above all industries has so much more diversity to offer women and are the leaders in equal opportunity employment.
‘I had many knock backs from other industries and I had to prove myself as I felt many were hoping to see me fail. In addition, I had no easy ride in my childhood after being orphaned at one and then growing up placed in many different foster homes. But I was determined to be the best I could be and prove that given the opportunity, women are equally as capable at a trade in a male dominated environment.’
Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources
Winner - Cindy Emmett
Anglo American (Qld)
Cindy Emmett, a single mother of four boys who put herself through university as a mature age student to attain her mechanical engineering degree has won the Rising Star category of the prestigious Queensland Resources Awards for Women.
Now working as a graduate mechanical engineer at Anglo American Metallurgical Coal’s Moranbah North Mine, Cindy was one of the first mature-aged single mums to be accepted into the graduate program.
Cindy earned a scholarship from Anglo American, graduated with honours and won the Greg Garrick award for most outstanding scholarship recipient.
She worked on the development of the new Grosvenor mine in central Queensland and contributed to making the new operation female friendly through the design of suitable underground toilets and change room facilities on the surface.
She says it’s been challenging being a mature age single mum in a male dominated role; however her supervisors were very supportive, allowing flexible hours to meet family responsibilities.
Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources
Winner – Laura Tyler
Asset President, BHP Billiton Cannington (Qld)
Laura was the first women to be appointed as an asset president within BHP Billiton when she took up the role for the company’s Cannington Mine in North-West Queensland, the world's largest silver and lead mine.
A mother of three children, who has been ‘a working FIFO wife’ and worked across four continents, Laura is passionate about attracting and retaining women in the sector.
She has led the introduction of Cannington’s first diversity plan to ensure the business supports high potential females, and spends many hours mentoring women both inside and outside the company.
Laura is also the first women to be appointed as a Vice President of the Queensland Resources Council.
‘We must encourage our male colleagues to speak out on the subject. They remain the dominant hiring managers in our business and it is only through their engagement that we will see magnified change in the status quo,' says Laura.
‘I have spoken at women’s events around the world to empower other women and show them that females can successfully fill senior roles in the industry. I believe diversity is not only important for individuals but also for our businesses. Often I am the only women at the table in meetings. This is needs to be corrected.
‘Our contribution as an industry extends beyond employment, community development, royalties, taxes and shareholders and into people’s futures and dreams. The ability to transform a natural resource into energy, infrastructure or food has far reaching implications for the communities beyond our front gate. It is the cornerstone for development and improving living standards across the world. The role our industry plays is very significant and comes with great responsibility.’