A gold mining company that initiated a program to bring working parents back to the industry part-time has been inundated with interest since it launched three months ago.
Evolution Mining introduced the initiative in response to high attrition rates and a skills shortage hitting its 125,000oz a year Mungari gold operations, 20km west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Since then seven residential employees have or are in the process of being employed on family-friendly hours, a reversal of a trend across the industry towards irregular rosters and 12-hour shifts.
Mungari Operations people, culture and community manager Dianne Newell said every mine site should consider introducing flexible work hours as an option to entice different people into the industry.
“It’s not only the mining industry, it’s all industry across the board that needs to look at it — construction and retail as well,” she said.
“There’s a lot of people sitting at home who can’t work full time but when you bring them into the workplace in the flexible hours they can work, they want to be there.
“They’re engaged in the workplace, they’re appreciative of what you’re able to do for them.
“It’s something everybody needs to look at.”
Samantha Cambetis has a toddler and recently returned to work through the program at Mungari, having previously spent a decade working at the local council.
Despite living in Kalgoorlie-Boulder her whole life, the young mother said her part-time role as an IT support analyst at Mungari was the first time she had been able to work in the mining industry.
“I was born here, and all my family’s in mining, and it was just a change to find out what it’s all about since I’ve grown up around it and I’ve never been on a mine site,” she said.
“It’s just one day a week on a Tuesday at the moment and once I get more daycare they said I can have more days.
“If you’re doing a normal roster and shifts you can’t have childcare on the weekend, they don’t usually open until 7am (on weekdays), and if you start at 6am what are you going to do for that extra hour?”
Ms Newell said it was not just women who had shown interest in the program.
“We’ve got a couple of dads that have been in the workplace and are looking to come back as well,” she said.