More and more often, I have hopeful job seekers contacting me, wanting advice on how to get a job in the mining industry. Unfortunately the reality is that it is not easy for job seekers with no experience to break into the mining industry, especially in the last few years because mining has been in such a slump and jobs scarce. At the very least many mining companies will expect you to have some qualification relevant to the resources industry, and preferably some proven work experience. The mining industry is extremely competitive, and there are a lot of other job seekers who may have more relevant skills and possibly some onsite experience who you could be competing against, even when it comes to the handful of entry level positions.

For this reason if you are wanting to break into the mining industry, your chances are going to be so much better, if you have a relevant qualification or university course in a discipline related to mining. There is a demand for people with relevant mining qualifications and/or recent mining experience, so if you find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated, because no matter how many resumes you submit, or phone calls you make to what appear to be disinterested recruiters, you just don’t seem to be able to get a mining job, it may be because you are lacking in the relevant qualifications or don’t have the relevant experience required.

One may ask with so many candidates desperately wanting to break into the mining industry, how come there is a skills shortage in mining? The answer to this, is very simple, it is because there is a lack of education. The mining industry is diverse, and there are many areas that one can try to break into; however the key to doing so, is to have the relevant qualification, whether it’s a university degree, or trade certificate for a specific area within mining. There are even in these tough times mining companies trying to fill key skilled positions, that are just not able to find anybody suitable, because there is a lack of certain skilled candidates in the market, worldwide. However these are generally not for the entry level skilled positions, as for these positions, they generally find candidates without any problem, because there are so many job seekers wanting to get into mining.

So to begin with, you will need to start thinking about whether you want to enter the field as a professional or in a trades/operations capacity. Targeting and researching specific roles in the industry is crucial to getting your foot in the door, so you can get the necessary qualifications and market yourself appropriately. Professionals are always tertiary qualified, usually with the minimum award of a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of study.

Trades/operations workers are either skilled people who have received vocational training in a specific trade, or laborers with relevant training and experience. Some trades, may require relevant licences and machinery tickets to operate certain vehicles or machinery. Most roles will require that you must be 18 years old or over, that you have a clean police record, that you pass a medical examination and very importantly, have drug and alcohol clearance. You will also need to keep in mind that many companies also choose to employ people who are already living within close proximity to the various mine sites. Other options are that you may have to work on a FIFO (fly in, fly out) roster. FIFO is not suited to everybody, and it takes a special type of person to adjust to the FIFO way of life. These are all factors that you need to keep in mind, when making the decision as to what training or qualifications you need to pursue.

If you have work experience, and have skills that could be transferable from a related industry, also keep these in mind when deciding on what training you should be completing, as these transferable skills may be very beneficial in getting your foot in the doorway. Do a bit of research into the mining industry, and best match your skills from previous positions, and your interest and capabilities, to what positions you would be best suited to in mining, and then get a mining qualification that would be relevant.

So to put it in a nut shell, if you want to get a shot at landing a good mining job, it is so important to have the right qualifications, and skills to put yourself in a favorable position for that particular role. There are jobs available within the mining industry for people with no experience, and no formal training, however, as I said, these jobs are scarce at present. You can get lucky and get a break, especially if you know somebody in the industry who can guide you, and put in a recommendation for you. However your chances are far higher if you get some sort of qualification that is relevant to what the position would involve. Remember as well that once you are in, and have gained a bit of experience, the chances of moving through the ranks increase substantially, as generally mining companies will recruit and train for more senior positions, from within the company first, before looking externally.

So once you have your foot in the doorway in the mining industry, the sky is the limit, but you need to get in first. If you are wanting to look at various mining training courses, an option is to contact EduMine.

EduMine offers a continuing education program of accredited short courses, live webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, and is supported by a network of mining schools and course providers. For more information go to EduMine.

7 Responses to “The importance of having the relevant training when applying for mining jobs”

  1. Frederico Martins

    Very true indeed, i am one of thoses people, recent graduate in geology trying to make my way in the industry,but for now,i had no positive responses because of my lack of experience,do you have any knowledge of internships in mining?if yes i would be very appreciated


    Hi Susan , I am IT tecn in South Africa. Willing to do some Trainings/certificates via EduMine. Is it possible to get job this that without any degree in Mining ? Thanks for your advice. Regards

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Max. It is always possible to get a job in mining without a degree. However to have some training is always highly advantageous. I would suggest you have a look at EduMines website, they offer a continuing education program of accredited short courses, live webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining. They are also supported by a network of mining schools and course providers. Regards. Susan.

  3. Alicia

    Dear Susan

    I have been working in the chemical industry for 8 years now. Unfortunately, I do not have matric maths & physics & desperately want to break into mining somehow. It is difficult for me to study further as I do not have matric maths & physics..

    Is there any way i can break into this field & study further without having matric maths & physics…Is there a bridging course i can do perhaps?


    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Alicia

      Thank you for the feedback, and I understand your frustration. Having maths and physics is always extremely helpful when trying to break into the mining industry. It is not however essential though for all areas in mining. There are certain careers in mining where not having maths and physics is going to make it very difficult to study further, but it does depend on which area of mining you are wanting to work in. I would suggest that you have a look at EduMine, They offer a continuing education program of accredited short courses, live webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, supported by a network of mining schools and course providers. Good luck I hope you come right!! Regards. Susan.

  4. Sihle Jijana

    Hi Susan

    Thanks for such knowledge though it hurts to study so hard and stay at home with your qualification because of not having experience, I am also a Graduate Geologist I have been applying for jobs since end 2011 after I finished with my studies please assist me with internships and graduate programmes in mining that you know of.


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