Mick Pound stands in front of his Gracemere Caravan Park home yesterday. He believes “it’s rubbish” that mines are hiring foreign workers over Australians.
Mick Pound stands in front of his Gracemere Caravan Park home yesterday. He believes “it’s rubbish” that mines are hiring foreign workers over Australians. John Corlett

Qualified but can't work in mines

HE'S skilled, he's work ready and he's Australian - but Mick Pound still can't get a job in the mines.

Strangely enough it's the last point, being a resident of this natural resource rich nation, which Mr Pound thinks is keeping him from a job in mining.

Mr Pound has more than six years experience as a civil construction grader operator and recently tried to join Central Queensland's resources boom and get a job in mining.

He said he had applied for more than 25 positions in the industry over the past three weeks, but still remained without a job.

He claimed the replies from the mining companies were simple.

"They've all said the same thing; 'You don't have mine experience'," he said

Mr Pound said the mining industry saw him as a "cleanskin", a worker with no skills in the industry, simply because he had never worked a mining specific job.

He claimed the industry was giving a higher preference to overseas applicants who had worked in mining, even if it was in other countries.

But with a long history in the related civil construction industry, Mr Pound argued that contracted overseas workers didn't have any experience on Australian worksites and would need to learn the nation's specific worksite health and safety laws from scratch.

"(Overseas experience) doesn't relate to working on an Australian mine so they'll still have to train them to Australian standards," he said.

Mr Pound said with his construction background, he would only require a brief site induction and a simple conversion to mining specific site rules.

But for now at least, Mr Pound faces the same old cliché as he tries to break into a new industry.

"It's difficult to get experience if you can't get a start," he said.

Mick's Credentials

Six years as a grader operator

Workplace Health and Safety Officer Ticket

HR Truck Licence

Senior First Aid Officer

Coal Board Medical

S11 Surface Induction



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