March 28 2022
Name: Jodie Cam
Role : Machine Operator, Union Secretary & Mines Rescue team member
Location : Coal Mine north of Singleton, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Job role and what it entails :
I hold a few different roles within the Coal Mine. I am a Machine Operator and the Secretary of our Mining and Energy Union Lodge. I am also an active member of our Mines Rescue Team on site.
As a Machine Operator, I could be tasked to a number of different machines that I am accredited to operate from a Dump Truck, Water Cart, Grader or Wheel Dozer. As an active member of our Mines Rescue Team we are required to respond when needed. That could be a full scale emergency on site or a simple first aid treatment from a headache to a sprained ankle or anything in between!
As the Secretary of our Union Lodge I help to keep our workplace Safe and also make sure that our members are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve.
If we had to step into your boots, what could we expect a day in your life to feel like?
We start our working shift at 7 and finish at 7.30 (12.5hour shift). It doesn’t matter if its day shift or night shift, the hours are the same. We have a pre-start to get the information we need for the shift, then spend the shift doing the task that has been allocated to us. For me, that is more often either a Water Cart or Grader – so either keeping the dust suppressed or grading roads and running areas to keep the trucks ticking along.
Then I have the other side, where I am called to represent union members if they have been called in a meeting or meeting with management over issues that we see as needing to be resolved. Knowing the site procedures and industry regulations helps when we are representing members
What do you enjoy about your role? What is the favourite part of your role? :
I love operating the machines. I have been in the industry for almost 25 years. I did leave for a short period of time but missed the environment and the job so I was drawn back in. I have managed to travel to various parts of the country to work, so have managed to see and do plenty along the way.
I actually love operating the Grader the most. It’s very satisfying to look at a completed task knowing you have done it .. until a 300T haul truck runs over it and you are back at square one!
But of all the jobs I have onsite, being the Secretary of our Union Lodge is the one I enjoy the most. I have had jobs where I haven’t been treated fairly or equally. This has prompted and pushed me to follow the path to make sure others don’t need to go through what I have in the past. We all deserve to be treated equally and fair.
"I love operating the machines. I have been in the industry for almost 25 years. I did leave for a short period of time but missed the environment and the job so I was drawn back in."
How did you get into your trade/industry/role? What did you study or how did you learn your skills? :
I started mining in 1996 in WA. I had a friend working in a mineral sands mine that told me they were looking for truck drivers. I went up to site, spoke to the manager and had a job!
What advice would you give to other women? What are some tips you’d give to other people in the industry?
Band together and support each other. Stay focused on the job because it can be really easy to get sucked into the politics on site. Know what is expected of you and what your rights are too. Know when you should speak up or ask for help.
Do you have a favourite saying or quote, or mantra that you live by?
Work to live. Don’t live to work!
It’s so important that we find that life balance. Work is an important part of our lives but its not everything. We need to enjoy our downtime and time with family and friends. That’s the most important thing of all.
Tell us a funny story about your role or an amusing experience you’ve had :
Ohhh there’s plenty… I’m just not sure if I should put them into print!
Have you ever encountered any negative experiences that, although difficult at the time, may have helped shape who you are today? :
Yes! I’ve definitely had my fair share of negative experiences. It was the support of family and friends and the Union that helped me through those difficult times. That is what has motivated me to become a Union Official on site. Now I’m proud to use my experience to help others avoid the difficult times that I have encountered. You should never be too scared to reach out and ask for help when you need it and in turn when you feel strong offer that help to those who are at their weakest.
How do you feel about your she wear boots? Any comments you’d like to make.
I LOVE my boots… I tell every girl I see that they should have a pair! I also love that you can be a bit more of an individual with the colour you chose. My pink boots make me feel like a lady in a very male dominated industry.
A huge thank you to Jodie for sharing her experiences with us as a woman in the mining industry. You can follow Jodie on Instagram.
Tagged: In Her Shoes