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 many jobs scarce.

For the majority of jobs in mining, at the very least, 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 when applying for a job, the chances are that there are other job seekers who may have more relevant skills and possibly some onsite experience who you could be competing against. This is often the case even when it comes to the handful of entry level positions  that are available.

For this reason if you are wanting to break into the mining industry, you need to be able to stand out from the rest. Your chances are going to be so much better, if you have a relevant qualification in a discipline related to the specific job you have applied for.

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 even a foot in the doorway for an interview , it may be because you simply do not have what they want and 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 qualified skills in specific areas in mining. 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.

Even when the industry is down and jobs scarce, there are jobs that  mining companies struggle to fill,  because there is a lack of certain skilled candidates in the market, worldwide. Not only those with experience but also in some cases for entry level positions.

So for many wanting to break into the mining industry it should be back to the drawing board. Job seekers need to first of all start  thinking about whether they 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, in order to be able to ensure  you have the necessary qualifications and to be able to 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 requirements may be that you 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. Some positions may require previous FIFO experience, to ensure that you are able to deal with the radical change in lifestyle.

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 for a career in mining.

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 if possible obtain a mining qualification that would be relevant.

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, these jobs can be few and far between. You may 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 have the right skill set required for the job.

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.

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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