Every time 45-year-old Jason Baker climbs the ladder to the cabin of his coal dump truck he counts his lucky stars.
A Kingsthorpe local, Jason is one of seven locals selected by New Hope Group (NHG) to take on a traineeship program at the New Acland Mine.
Jason said he had all but given up hope of securing a position at the mine after having applied in the past.
“I got a taste of life on a mine site when I was in Mt Isa and I really enjoyed it,” Jason said.
“I also worked as a FIFO worker for four years in the oil and gas fields of South Australia, but I didn’t want to go back to that type of work.”
Jason said it was his mum who alerted him to the traineeship.
“I’d come back to live in Kingsthorpe and my family are all in the area so when the opportunity arose I decided to give it a shot,” Jason said.
“I just can’t believe I’ve finally got my foot in the door. While some might think I’m a little old to be starting a traineeship I see it as a second chance.
“Once I finish my Certificate II in Surface Extraction it’s only a small step to a Certificate III which is the same as a trade qualification.
“Admittedly it can be a little slow at times but there are so many options on a mine site to build a career once I finish my traineeship.”
NHG General Manager of Queensland Coal Operations, David Vink said there are a number of reasons why New Acland Mine is a great place to start a mining career.
“New Acland Mine is an important economic contributor to the local area and is recognised as an innovative and forward looking mine,” David said.
“We encourage our experienced team of miners to think creatively about issues they face daily and we are proud to have implemented a number of the innovations that have come from that.
“We also value training and offer our team the opportunity to continually learn new skills.
“While this is only the second time we have run traineeships at New Acland, if this group replicates the success of the first intake it most certainly won’t be the last.
“Obviously we’d like all the trainees to remain at NAC but where ever the trainees decide to go after the program ends, they will have the advantage of having worked on a mine site that is respected across the industry.”