45% of the world’s economy is driven by the mining sector (Mining Weekly), yet few people realise how vital the industry is to modern life, or how rewarding a career in mining can be. From the opportunity to use some of the world’s most innovative technology, to the fact that no two days are the same, mining is ideal for those searching for a career with a difference. Here are six reasons why you should consider a career in mining, with tips and advice from British Gypsum and those working in this thriving industry.
There’s a career path for everybody
Love tinkering with new technology? A career as a mining engineer could be a good fit for you. Super organised and excited to explore? Become a planner and find new places to mine. Whether you’re a graduate looking to start your career, or you fancy starting over in a new industry within an entry-level position, there are many roles and routes available. From hands-on roles in mining construction and operations to more technical roles such as lab technicians, there really is a career path for all skills and interests in mining.
Graduate Geologist Amy Everton, who works at British Gypsum’s head office and across the company’s mines, said:
“I’ve always wanted to go into geology. I love how variable the job is.
“People think they need to come from a certain background to work in mining, but we take on both apprentices and entry-level positions where you can learn on the job, as well as graduate roles. There really are opportunities available at all levels and it’s a good career choice for people searching for a new challenge or a unique experience.”
It’s not your standard 9 to 5
Don’t fancy being chained to a desk all day? Mining is not your typical day job. A lively, fast-paced environment, a career in mining is perfect for those who like to be kept on their toes. But mining also offers a good work-life balance, with flexible hours and shift patterns that can fit around your lifestyle.
Mine Electrical Apprentice Ashley Chettle, who works underground at British Gyspum’s Barrow-upon-Soar mine, said:
“I came down for an induction and just thought it was a completely different environment to work in. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more about how the mine works.”
Mine Electrical Apprentice Leo Filby added:
“The work-life balance is good. On early shift I start at 6am but I finish at 2pm, so I still have half a day to myself.“
Opportunities for growth
Mining is a continuously evolving industry, which means plenty of opportunities for those who love to learn and grow.
Philip Sant, Plant Manager at British Gypsum’s Kirkby Thore site, joined the company as an Apprentice Mechanical Engineer in 1983. Over his four-decade career, Philip has worked his way up through a variety of roles to plant manager, and now oversees 150 people.
“I spent my time working with a range of skilled people learning my trade. This included everything from time in the workshop, to machining on lathes and milling machines, to maintenance and welding. Right from the word go, I was gaining the knowledge I needed to become a craftsman.”
“When I started all of those years ago as a 15-year-old, I didn’t know I would one day be running a whole arm of the business.”
Try the latest and greatest technology
It’s a common misconception that mining is an old-fashioned industry, but mining isn’t only moving with the times, but beyond them. Mining requires constant innovation, due to the challenges involved in working with varying landscapes across the globe, with talented innovators exploring ways to make mining more efficient, less wasteful and, most importantly, sustainable. You could have the chance to operate the JOY continuous miner (a machine that uses a drum-style cutting head to cut and gather materials simultaneously) or one of their top-of-the-line battery-powered gypsum haulers, which as well as being the most advanced in Europe, reduce CO2 emissions from the mine by 25%.
“I saw it on the website and thought working in a mine looked interesting, particularly working with the machines. I’m looking forward to learning more about the JOY machines and how they work.”
Be part of a changing workforce
In recent years, there has been a welcome increase in initiatives to make mining a more inclusive place to work. British Gypsum is actively working to find talent from diverse backgrounds and welcomes people regardless of age, ethnicity, sexuality or disability. The company has also recently partnered with Women in Mining to encourage more women to join the industry, and its STEM Ambassador programme offers placements to students interested in a career in science, technology, engineering and maths.
“It’s not always been easy as a woman in mining – there have been challenges – but we’ve been making the right steps. We know where our gaps are, and we really want to improve them.
“Already this year, British Gypsum have put investment into creating more female-friendly facilities across all our mines. I could talk for ages about the changes we’re making towards a more inclusive workforce.”
A one-of-a-kind work environment
There’s a stereotype that mines are dark, claustrophobic spaces, where danger lurks around every corner, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern mines are spacious and brightly lit, making working underground an experience like no other. Modern mines follow strict safety standards required by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with PPE and training provided.
“It’s completely different from what I expected. I never feel claustrophobic. Going down into the mine for the first time was a unique experience.”
“Each mine at British Gypsum is different and you never know what to expect when visiting a mine for the first time.”
“The most surprising thing is how open they are. You know on paper how high the mine workings are, but you can’t appreciate it until you really see it for yourself. Working underground, it’s just a completely different work environment to what you’ll get anywhere else.”
Think a career in mining could be for you? Take a look at the range of opportunities available at British Gypsum here.