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  • > 100,000 employees

Blaise Gassin

I am responsible for the safety of the men and women I work beside, as they are for me.

What did you study?

Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Honours) at the University of Wollongong. 

When did you graduate?

Graduating class of 2015.

Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about any previous employment or experience abroad?

I grew up in Wollongong where I played semi-professional football and worked in a number of cafes on the coast and at the university campus itself. I spent my university semester breaks travelling Europe and the east coast of Australia. I funded this through my sporting and part-time work commitments.

How did you get to your current position? For how long have you had it?

I applied for the Glencore Graduate Program in my final year of university, which was 2015. Upon successful selection I began my first year out of university at Newlands open cut coal mine in central Queensland, 250 kilometres north west of Mackay. This was the first rotation of a two year program. Six months later I gained exposure at Oaky Creek North underground coal mine, located in Queensland’s central highlands approximately 300 kilometres west of Mackay. It was here that I spent the rest of my graduate program and have remained up until now.

What does your employer do?

Glencore is one of the world’s largest globally diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 90 commodities. 

What are your areas of responsibility?

At Oaky Creek North my specific area of responsibility is the safe, efficient and day-to-day extraction of high-quality export coking coal in an underground environment. 

Can you describe a typical work day?

A typical work day is a challenging and rewarding experience. It involves interdepartmental planning, whilst allocating equipment and labour. I must always plan with reference to timeframes and schedules. It’s important going forward that plans and ideas flow into each other and my actions are transparent. Each day, efficient resourcing works to create clear lines of communication notwithstanding an open and honest attitude. On top of this, I am responsible for concise data collation to comply with Queensland’s coal mining regulations. 

Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study? Are there any soft skills that would be beneficial for them to develop? Should they pursue any sort of work experience? 

Studying mining engineering and rounding it off with an economics or finance based double degree would provide a new candidate with a very well balanced set of skills to take into the mining industry. Much of mining engineering is based on cost down margin up ideas to drive production. The mining aspect would drive the production and scheduling component, while the finance side would drive the cost component.    

Individually and combined, these degrees offer a huge degree of flexibility, especially if you are seeking to move away from mining operations and into the corporate side of the business.     

Akin to a higher education background, I cannot stress the importance of being self aware and possessing communication skills. You will hear this time and time again, but for good reason. You cross paths with people from absolutely all walks of life and it is critical that you are patient, respectful and can communicate a clear and concise message. These skills can be developed and progressed throughout university by undertaking part-time work, playing team sports, and/or joining a social club.

What sort of person succeeds in your career? 

A person with resourcefulness, initiative and a fierce work ethic.

What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?

I love how the rawness, practicality and technical aspects of mining come together in the day-to-day operation of the business. I enjoy communicating and navigating my way around the hierarchical structure of the business and find it rewarding when plans come together to form positive outcomes for every employee.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? 

Without a doubt the only limitation of my job is the geographical location. Other than that, this business has – and is – providing limitless opportunities. 

Do you bear a lot of responsibility?

I am responsible for the safety of the men and women I work beside, as they are for me.

Do you have to work on weekends? Is your job physically demanding?

Weekend work goes hand in hand with roster work. If I am working on a roster I work my rostered shifts; be that as it may, it might just be on a weekend. On a standard Monday to Friday working week, I work whatever is required of me to fulfil the role. At times my job can be physically demanding.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

I have entertained the idea of surfing for a living, but I don’t think I have what it takes to make a career from it. I feel like I have a lot to give this industry and I am where I need to be. 

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  • Talent x Effort = Skill. Skill x Effort = Achievement. The takeaway? As much as talent counts, effort counts twice. 
  • Don’t stop smiling.
  • Don’t stop having fun.