Graduate Process Engineer
Who do you work for?
Dampier Salt, currently in Port Hedland
What does your job involve?
Carrying out laboratory tests on salt samples for quality purposes, wash plant improvements.
Why did you choose to work in this sector?
The mining industry provides a really good place for new graduates to learn as you get exposure to every part of the industry, from production and operations, to safety, to marketing and business. Not only that, but there is the added bonus of job security.
What is the most rewarding part of your current job?
Being able to be involved in every aspect of the business including helping out the operators and working on projects that have the potential to greatly influence the business.
What has been one of your recent achievements?
As I only began my job a month ago, I haven’t finished any projects at this stage. However, I am in the process of helping to determine how the way in which we grow and wash the salt influences the particle size of the salt. This will hopefully help us to understand the behaviour of the wash plant better so we can increase the recovery.
What is the most challenging part of your current job?
Given that I had to relocate to Port Hedland (from Perth) for this position, the most challenging part has been getting used to a new town at the same time as getting used to a new job. It can be a bit overwhelming at times!
What do you hope to do in the future?
One day I hope to end up in a leadership role, either on site (for example, an operations manager) or in a city based role.
What are some of the other benefits of your job?
I think that given Dampier Salt is a smaller company, as a graduate I have more responsibility than a graduate in a larger part of Rio Tinto would. This means that I am directly involved in projects rather than just working under someone else who is directly involved.
What training did you have for this job?
Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) at Curtin University
What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?
This might sound cliché, but make sure you do something that you are interested in. Uni is not easy, so unless you’re really passionate about what you’re studying, there’s no point in doing it. After you’ve studied at uni for four (or however many) years, you hope that you will want to stay in a job that uses your degree for a long time!
For any females wanting to study engineering and get into the mining industry, it’s not as bad as you may think! Yes, you might be one of very few females on site, but everyone on site is really supportive and helpful because they know that at the end of the day you’re there to learn and do your job.
To find out more about how Rio Tinto supports classroom teaching and learning in maths, science and business studies for young people aged 12-16 visit SMART, our free international education portal. Using a combination of interactive whiteboard presentations, printable lesson plans, worksheets and case studies, students can explore how their academic studies relate to real-world operations in a major global business.