After working in an admin role for 6 years I decided that I wanted to be doing a job that involved getting outdoors and learning. I always had an interest in geosciences, and after researching the kinds of degrees on offer I decided to go to Plymouth University and study geology.
I am local to Plymouth so knew all about the University and what a good image it held, the course gave me a good understanding of geology and the different vocations I could pursue after graduating. In my final year by far the best help was the career planning module which ran alongside the dissertation.
This is where I really began to think about what job I wanted to do and where I would want to do it. My mind was broadened with the knowledge that I didn’t have to be based in the UK and that there was a huge market for geologists in Australia. During one of the career talks a past student from Plymouth spoke to us, who happened to work in the exploration field in Australia. After talking to him I decided that I should give Australia a go and applied for my working holiday visa. Once I arrived in Perth I contacted many recruitment agencies, who then started to send my CV around to various companies and arrange interviews for me. I ended up having a telephone interview and a site visit to Alacer Gold where I was offered the job of Underground Mine Geologist at their goldmine in Higginsville, Western Australia.
As Underground Mine Geologist, I am responsible for all the development drives underground that contain ore. This includes grading the rocks into low or high grade ore, mapping and sampling. I also need to look at the bigger picture of the mine to try and determine where the ore is and what direction the ore is going, so I can determine where to mine. This involves looking at software programmes and drill hole data. My day starts at 5.30am, when I attend the pre-shift underground meeting with all the mine workers. I then plan my day, attending a couple more meetings during which we discuss the previous days mine production and plans for that day. I will then drive underground and get to work, with the day ending at 6pm - slightly different to university life. The geology here is very structural based and I am mainly looking at quartz vein intrusions and shear zones which host gold.
I work an 8:6 roster, living on camp for 8 days and then returning home for my 6 days off. This is called a fly in fly out job where you fly to camp every week for work. The camp site has all the facilities necessary, including a room with en suite bathroom and TV/internet access. There are gym facilities, tennis and basketball courts, a general store and even a pub. All food is supplied from the dry mess and the choice is excellent. Being on site is like a home away from home as you have everything you require.
Coming to Australia was the best decision I could have made and I enjoy coming to work each week. The work is physically hard and mentally challenging but that keeps it interesting. I have worked here for 4 months now and the company are sponsoring me on a 457 visa, which is valid for 4 years.