AWRA’s workforce diversity program benefits 200 women in mining

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The Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) is celebrating an important milestone of 200 women mentees matching with a female or male mentor through a unique e-Mentoring program designed to support the career development of women in the mining, oil and gas sectors.

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Catherine Bruneton, an engineer with Henderson-based Technip, says working with a mentor outside her work group has helped her broaden her knowledge in other areas of the industry.

“As I was a recent graduate with only one year of work experience at the start of the program, my main goals were to gain confidence, develop myself and my skill set and learn more about where I would like to take my career,” Ms Bruneton says.

Ms Bruneton’s mentor Lana Van Wyk, who also has a background in engineering and now works as a business analysis manager with Dyno Nobel, says the program helped her develop her men-management and leadership skills.


“I thoroughly enjoyed sharing some of my experiences and perspectives. It also forced me to reflect on how I manage people in my own teams and my contributions to the workplace,” Ms Van Wyk says.

AWRA spokesperson, Tara Diamond, says the program will go a long way towards diversifying the largely male-dominated industry.

“The resource industry workforce comprises just 16% women, compared to 46% across the Australian working population. Innovative approaches like AWRA e-Mentoring are a practical way of supporting women’s career development and to hopefully see greater numbers reach management and leadership positions,” Ms Diamond says.

“What makes this program so great is that mentees and mentors don’t have to be based in the same town or be available to meet face-to-face. Using an online platform and various communications tools means women who travel to remote sites or work non-traditional hours can still benefit from mentoring.”

The program received a largely positive feedback from participants, with 95% of those enlisted stating they achieved their personal goals when signing up for the nine-month program.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from people who want to see more women succeed in our industry and are now taking expressions of interest for women who would like to be mentored by some of our industry’s best in 2016,” Ms Diamond says.

AWRA is run by national resource industry employer group AMMA with support from the Australian Government.