ERA making tracks for women in resources

20 June 2017

In an industry traditionally dominated by men, a subtle change has happened over the last 12 months at Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) in the Northern Territory.

ERA’s 16 per cent female participation rate is currently sitting above the industry’s national average, new support networks have been formed and women are emerging in key managerial positions.

Female employees hold a variety of senior ERA roles including Mine Geologist, Manager Health, Safety, Environment and Communities, Manager Water and Closure Strategy, Manager External Relations, right up to General Manager Operations, ERA Chief Executive and a non-executive board member.

In January 2017, ERA formed the Ranger Women’s Network (RWN) with the aim of encouraging and supporting their female staff by offering networking and development opportunities, and information exchange on ERA and industry issues.

This year ERA also proudly welcomed two new engineering graduates, both women working on site at the Ranger Mine operation and keen to take part in a variety of training while gaining first hand engineering experience in the field.

In 2016, ERA employed four first year apprentices, three of them female and three identifying as indigenous. Taking on first year female apprentices was a first for the company in its 35 year history.

ERA Chief Executive Andrea Sutton and winner of the 2016 Northern Territory Exceptional Women in Resources Award said ERA was committed to supporting workplace diversity and offering opportunities for staff.

“It’s exciting to see so many women being recognised for their skills and experiences and winning senior roles at ERA at a time when then next generation of female mine employees are coming through,” Ms Sutton said.

“Whether working at Jabiru, Darwin or as fly-in-fly-out, there is a real buzz on site as these initiatives and support networks help our staff feel a connection to other women across the operation and to the community.”

The RWN has also been hosting events this year for ERA employees and the women of Jabiru to assist in empowering, educating and supporting accelerated gender parity in the region.

The first event, to celebrate International Women’s Day was sold out and raised $3000 for the charity Dawn House Incorporated which provides services to women and children in the region escaping domestic and family violence.

Earlier this year the RWN also visited the Girls Academy at Jabiru Area School to celebrate the International Women and Girls in Science Day by raising awareness of science and mining careers opportunities and giving students the opportunity to meet with female scientists, engineers and managers from the Ranger mine.

This month ERA was a proud Gold sponsor of the Women in Resources Northern Territory Awards which encourage and celebrates the achievements of women, men and companies who make an outstanding contribution towards diversifying the resources industry.

Ms Sutton was a panellist on the awards night discussion about couching diversity and two ERA staff plus the RWN were finalists in a variety of categories, all recognising the incredible diversity of the industry and the unique value female staff can bring to an operation.

“ERA understands and supports the strengths delivered by workplace diversity and its employment policies encourage diversity in age, experience, gender and background,” said Ms Sutton.

“It’s a real positive for the industry for ERA to be supporting our female colleagues, promoting personal and professional development and in turn making the working environment a lot more desirable for women.”