Jami-Lee Hutley's Story
Jami-Lee Hutley is a Cloncurry local and joined Ernest Henry Mining (EHM) as a Trainee Truck Driver in March 2013 as one of three locally-based trainees in the current intake of EHM's Trainee Truck Driver Program.
"I was born in Mitchell, a small pastoral town on the edge of the Darling Downs in south-west Queensland. My parents moved to Cloncurry when I was still a baby so I grew up here. I love Cloncurry. It's quiet living in town and not too far to go anywhere. There's plenty of action to get involved in with the rodeos, race meets, Curry Day, the Show and lots more - it's a busy social life.
By chance I overheard a conversation about roles being advertised on the EHM website so out of curiosity I had a look. Vacancies were listed for EHM's Trainee Truck Driver Program which provides an opportunity for people who don't have industry skills or heavy-vehicle experience to receive the training and qualifications needed to help forge a career in mining. I undertook Year 10 work experience at EHM and remembered the size of the haul trucks. I was pretty excited at the thought of being able to drive a 220-tonne CAT 793 so I applied and a couple of months later, here I am.
My first three days in a truck were spent observing a qualified operator. I didn't sleep well for the first couple of nights because I was worrying whether I could actually drive the truck myself. Observing a good truck operator and actually operating the truck yourself are two very different things. On day four, I sat in the driver's seat for the first time. Inside I was squealing with excitement and still in disbelief that I was about to start driving this monster machine.
After a few weeks in the training program I had started to gain some confidence. All of the truck operators were very helpful and gave me lots of driving tips. It's actually not as hard to drive as everyone thinks it is, but you need to be very alert and aware of so many different things all at once. It's all about zero harm so we can all go home safely at the end of each shift.
People have been asking me what it's like being a woman in a male-dominated industry. I believe that just because a man does a job, it doesn't mean that a woman can't. I have no problem fitting in with my new work mates, both men and women. EHM has a tight-knit crew and everyone helps each other out. I think my extrovert nature is helping me fit in easily and my previous work experience at Cloncurry State School allowed me to develop really good people skills. I know this is valuable as good communication and being able to relate to other people is one of the most important tools you can have, especially when you're part of a big and diverse team.
For now, I'm happy taking little steps as a Trainee Truck Driver and hope that in years to come I will be able to operate a loader or one of the big excavators. The Trainee Truck Driver Program is an excellent career opportunity for me as a Cloncurry local and I intend to work hard to develop my career in mining. It's a bonus that I can stay in Cloncurry and enjoy the lifestyle I love."