Northparkes leading the way when it comes to women in the workforce

March 04, 2014

Northparkes Mines, a gold and copper mine in central NSW, has a leading edge when it comes to attracting and retaining women to its workforce.

The results speak for themselves with female employees at Northparkes standing at 17 per cent, well above the industry average of 11 per cent.

Northparkes Mines general manager Stefanie Loader – who in October 2013 was recognised by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac as one of the 100 Women of Influence - said Northparkes has implemented several programs to encourage more women into the workforce.

“At Northparkes we are doing all that we can to encourage women to consider a career in our industry. Firstly, we are trying to attract more women to apply for entry level positions. If we can recruit women at the outset of their career and hopefully retain them we have a better chance of building a more diverse workforce over time. Our programs need to be sustainable in order to achieve real success over the mid to long-term.

“Secondly, we are challenging ourselves when it comes to role descriptions. We are trying to think outside of a five-day week and are instead looking at roles and figuring out whether they can be part-time, asking the questions about experience and skill set. The more flexible we can be the better the outcome for both our business and the pool of candidates we can draw on,” she said. 

HR, Training, Community & External Relations manager Susan Grant added: “Our School to Work Program allows us to share information with students about the range of careers available to them in the mining industry while also providing a mentoring service to the students.

“Attracting women to operational roles is also a key focus with the Human Resources team in constant communication with short-term labour providers to encourage women to apply for these roles.

“We are extremely proud of the results we’ve achieved to date - including the fact that 50 per cent of our Indigenous Scholarship recipients are female and 32 per cent of our professional workforce is made up of females,” she said.

The work doesn’t end there. The team at Northparkes is actively encouraging and supporting women to return from maternity leave with flexible working arrangements.

Northparkes is committed to championing women in mining and is well positioned to do this. This year’s NSW Women in Mining Awards features two finalists from Northparkes Mines – Sophie L’Estrange (Aspiring Star) and Leanne Heywood (Outstanding Woman),  who is currently the vice president Marketing Global Copper Concentrate with Rio Tinto. In addition, Northparkes’ Pamela Naidoo was recently identified as a 100 Aspirational Women in Mining.

There is still more work to be done – but Northparkes is definitely well on its way to achieving a truly diverse workforce – the best kind of workforce.

Northparkes Mines is proud to sponsor the 2014 NSW Women in Mining Awards dinner.

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