Schmoozing young talent: mining companies set sights on high school-ers

by Stephanie Zillman19 Jul 2012

Schmoozing young talent: mining companies set sights on high school-ersForget grad fairs – the trend in mining and resources recruitment is to set up shop even earlier.

In Mt Isa, north-west Queensland, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, in collaboration with mining heavyweight Xstrata, runs an all-expenses paid camp for high school students. The purpose is to translate the mining experience to school aged kids. “We wanted to give them the opportunity to see what it's like outside the academic stuff, a real hands on type experience,” HR manager at Xstrata Copper, Dick Kostowski told ABC Rural.

The camp has been operating for the last six years, and Kostowski added that a number of students who have gone through the program returned to complete vacation work, and applied for jobs following their university studies.

The purpose of the camp is for kids to develop solutions to real engineering problems faced by operations in the North West minerals region. Interestingly, the submissions are put to real engineers at the end of the camp, and Kostowski said some are taken on board.

Yet the purpose of the camp is by no means just good corporate social responsibility and education. The camp is very much part of the recruitment strategy, and has reportedly given the company valuable access to an untapped talent market. “I think we’re certainly getting access to a greater proportion of [talent] due to the success and hard work that people put into these programs,” Kostowski said.

Local teacher Brad Hubbard from Chinchilla State High School has seen many kids go through the program, and told ABC that after completing the camp, a large number of students go straight to the mines. “A lot of our students who probably could've gone to University aren't doing that because they can get $100,000 a year driving a truck so why would you go to uni?” he said.


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