Why should gender matter? Our capabilities are what is important

Linda is a Process Coordinator at Alcoa’s Kwinana Alumina Refinery, so is able to drive to and from work each day.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interacting with a variety of interesting, intelligent and passionate people working together to optimise a dynamic process and overcoming the challenges of a nearly 60-year old refinery.

Describe your career path to your current job?

5 years of university to achieve a double degree in Science and Engineering and equivalent of a Mathematics degree followed by work experience for Main Roads Heavy Vehicle Operations, 3.5 years in steel fabrication industry as a Project Engineer, 5-7 years (including 3x maternity leave periods) as an Area Chemical Engineer and currently in my 8th year as a Process Coordinator.

What attracted you to a career in mining and resources?

I enjoyed mathematics and science (chemistry) in school.

If you have children, how do you juggle working in mining and resources with family life?

The shift roster permits me to focus on parenting 6 out of 10 days and I am very fortunate to have the support of my husband and extended family to assist with school drop offs / pick ups, activities and meals when I am rostered on to work.

What do you think of the general perception that mining and resources is a male-dominated sector?

It has historically been a male-dominated sector but it no longer needs to be. Everyone is of different shapes, sizes, thought processes and capabilities; as long as you have the interest, work ethic, positive attitude and drive you should have an equal opportunity to work in mining and resources. Why should gender matter? Our capabilities and ability to learn, adapt and contribute to the team is what is important.

What advice would you give to other women considering a career in the sector?

Go for what you are interested in, take on the challenge of being a pioneer and join other women in the industry breaking down misconceptions and re-educating others (of all genders) that the mining and resources sector is not and should not be a ‘boys club’. Once you are in the industry you will discover other career options that you may not have been aware of which will open up opportunities to challenge yourself and grow. Be true to yourself and build good relationships with the people you work with.

What’s the biggest thing you would like other women to know about working in mining and resources?

It is a very interesting place to work and will provide challenges and personal growth. It is not comprised of rough, gruff men but individuals like yourself, with families, lives, interests and issues too.

What initiatives/policies has your employer put in place to encourage more women to be involved in the sector?

The Alcoa Women in Operations program, Alcoa Women’s Network, the Apprenticeship program, high school and university student mentoring and work experience programs, plus a few other valuable initiatives supporting women in the industry.