Girls for mining nurtures networking skills

The Girls for Mining Mentoring Program recently hosted a function bringing over 50 mentors and mentees together at Mount Isa's Good Shepherd Catholic College.

The mentoring program provides girls from both Spinifex State College and the Good Shepherd Catholic College with an opportunity to gain valuable insights into professional working life from a mining, processing and support services perspective.

Guest speaker and passionate General Practitioner Dr Anna Cunningham shared some useful tips and important life skills with the group, before mentees had the opportunity to sharpen their communication and leadership skills in a real-world networking exercise.

Designed to have participants step outside their comfort zone, mentees were paired with a mentor in a speed-networking style activity to get to know each other and exchange information about their work experience and interests before moving to a new mentor.

Leanne Ryder, Manager Human Resources and Training, North Queensland Copper Assets Australia says networking is often confused with selling and self-promotion, however networking is actually about building authentic long-term relationships.

"Networking is about forming strong connections, sharing and helping one another towards common goals," Leanne says.

"By putting yourself out there and meeting new people, you can build strong social skills and greater self-confidence as well as gain fresh ideas to help you in your role."

Jorja Bell, year 10 Good Shepherd Catholic College student says the Girls for Mining Mentoring Program has been an amazing experience and has opened her eyes to a number of careers in the mining and resource sector.

"This program has changed my perception of mining completely and I now realise that it's not just about getting in and getting your hands dirty, there's a lot of planning involved," Jorja says.

"Mining is different for each resource, and everyone does their part to ensure the mine runs smoothly, without every piece of the puzzle it doesn't work."

So far, Jorja's favourite part of the mentoring program has been catching up onsite with her mentor Whitney Brito, a Backfill Mining Engineer at Mount Isa Copper Operations.

"I'm learning new and different things every time I meet with my mentor about what she does, how she does it and why she enjoys doing it," Jorja says.

"My confidence has increased since being part of this program and I'm able to talk to new and experienced people in different sectors of mining."

Whitney Brito, Engineer – Mining Backfill, Mount Isa Copper Operations is equally enjoying the experience of being a mentor in the program.

"It's been great to be given the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences throughout my career to inspire more young women in mining," Whitney says.

"I've been lucky enough to have a few mentors, both male and female, and it's something I think everyone can benefit from. It's certainly been a great source of guidance and support throughout my career".

"Being in the program has helped us both become more open and confident," says Whitney.

Students from Cloncurry State School P-12 and their mentors from Ernest Henry Mining participated in a similar Girls for Mining Mentoring Program networking function held in Cloncurry.

The Girls for Mining Mentoring Program will conclude with a formal cocktail themed function in November this year.