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Full Circle: Michelle’s Callide journey

New to industry (NTI) success story Michelle Collocott shares her full circle journey from the haul roads of Callide to the office…and back again!  

Local high school teacher Michelle Collocott wanted a change, and with an unrelenting drought putting financial pressure on many of the region’s farming families, she looked to Batchfire’s NTI program. 

 “I was a high school teacher at Redeemer Lutheran College in Biloela, but it was a part-time position and we looked for avenues to overcome the financial challenges with the drought affecting our farm,” Michelle said.  

“I always wanted to be in the mines and when I saw an employment opportunity on Seek advertising for new to industry operators at Batchfire Resources, I went for it!” 

Michelle wasn’t sure if her background and age would make her a suitable applicant, but her farming experience helped her secure a semi-skilled operator role right out of the gate. 

“I was very nervous at the time, due to my age and background. I was 42 years old when I completed a new to industry traineeship – a Cert II in Open Cut Surface Extraction – but it turned out that neither was a problem,” she said. 

“I was employed as a semi-skilled operator due to my experience on Moxy articulated dump trucks and farm machinery.” 

Across the next five years at Callide Mine, employed by Workpac under the new to industry program, Michelle gained invaluable experience operating an array of our biggest and best machinery. 

“I received competency for all of the truck skills on site, such as Komatsu 930E, Cat 785, Cat 789, Hitachi 4500 and Hitachi 5000 as well as various Water Carts. I also achieved competency in a Grader 16H skill,” she said. 

After proving herself as a skilled operator, Michelle wanted to try something new after seeing a position advertised for a Business Services Officer (BSO) in Mine Administration. 

“I decided at that point to pursue the position in Administration at Callide because I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn new skills and experience what happens behind the scenes in the mining industry,” she said.   

Michelle secured the BSO position and excelled from the get-go, but after 12 months in the office chair, she was beginning to miss the cab of a truck! Just like that, she began transitioning back to operating machinery. 

“I have always enjoyed being on the machines, but I am going to miss all the wonderful people I have met and had the privilege to work alongside during my time in Administration,” she said. 

“We are all from different walks of life, yet we are all passionate about our jobs and ensuring our families’ futures are secure for many years to come.” 

A driving force behind Michelle’s decision to step back into an operator role was the Flexi-Crew dayshift roster at Boundary Hill, allowing her to spend more time with her family.  

“I am looking forward to being part of the Flexi-Crew on the 5/4 dayshift-only roster,” she said.  

“I am based at Boundary Hill for my new position, which is fantastic, as it allows me to be at home more often on our family farm near Goovigen.” 

Around 85 per cent of the employees at Batchfire Resources live within the Callide Valley, which Michelle says is a commendable achievement. 

“I think any company that provides employment opportunities for people living within their local area needs to be recognised, not only for their achievements in productivity but for their ability to successfully manage and create inclusion and diversity within their workforce,” she said. 

“I will be forever thankful for the opportunities Batchfire and Workpac have provided me.”   

To find out more about Batchfire you can connect with us on LinkedIn or contact us here.