Graduate Program Embraces Working From Home

Rain, hail, shine or coronavirus – the MEC Mining Graduate Program still thrives!

The MEC Mining Graduate Program has continued despite the current restrictions of the COVID-19 virus. Principal of Learning & Development, Loren Ager and Brisbane based MEC Mining Graduates Zhongwei Wang, Ivy Pan and Leandro Nunes have continued to contribute to the business by working from home.

Leandro Nunes describes the way in which MEC has enabled graduates to work from home. “MEC has supported me by providing a computer with all the software I need to keep working from home. It is different from working in the office as I must explain myself better so others can help me properly. But we adapted to the situation, and I still feel like I am developing as an engineer. I expected to learn basic engineering skills in the Graduate Program, like mining software, and I have kept learning these skills from home. So, the output of the program has not changed, only the way we are doing it.”

Zhongwei Wang has reflected on a working from home environment. “At the beginning, I thought WFH might be a challenge to me as a graduate mining engineer, and that lack of face to face supervision from senior colleagues might be a problem. This would be especially the case when I got stuck and found it hard to describe the issue precisely. The fact is, I have successfully overcome this challenge and completed my haul road design work under the supervision of Lukman – a great mentor.  I appreciate MEC’s quick response to the pandemic.  They have taken care of the wellbeing and health of their employees, especially for me as a graduate mining engineer working from home”.

Ivy Pan has reflected on how the team works together. “With support from the MEC family, especially our team leader, we are doing well or even better on our tasks. They are providing us with VPN to connect our shared drives, the access of remote control from home, dongles of Vulcan, etc. Moreover, our team leader – Loren holds graduate catch-up meetings every Thursday to make sure that everyone on the graduate team is well and helps solve problems that we’re facing.”

Nick Luff’s experience at Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut operation

Nicholas Luff has been assisting Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut operation in a short-term planning team. During this time, Nicholas has learnt and assisted in the dig and dump design process as well as scheduling loading equipment to follow a weekly plan. He has also assisted in running weekly planning meetings that implement his designs and schedule as well as weekly reconciliation meetings to measure conformance to plan.

Nicholas has been part of a new initiative to expose experienced digger and dozer operators to short term planners’ tasks. This has been achieved through teaching CAD software skills, which allows them to see how all designs follow standard operating procedures.  This has been valuable as experienced operators understand the mining process required to efficiently mine. It has also developed a good relationship between the operators and engineers which has resulted in positive communication during difficult design concepts.

Nicholas has found the MEC graduate program to be a perfect tool for progressing his professional development, especially with MEC running multiple graduate modules that assist in developing soft skills. This is something that many graduate engineers struggle with but is now something he feels comfortable doing. It has assisted him when communicating designs or information on hazards with supervisors and managers.

MEC Mining Perth office opening

MEC Mining Perth office opening

MEC Mining officially launched to the WA market on Friday 22nd November with the opening of the Perth office.  Over 80 members of the mining community attended the cocktail party at the Flour Factory hosted by General Manager Operations, Christofer Catania and Technical Service Manager, Erin Sweeney.

Chris welcomed guests and highlighted MEC Mining’s expansion into Western Australia.

“Opening offices in WA allows MEC to better serve the Western Australian and African client base, while diversifying both geographically and across commodities”.

In leading the new branch Erin’s focus will be on ensuring safe and sustainable growth through technical influence, while continuing to meet the national and international demand for MEC Mining’s services.

With over 15 years’ experience as a mining professional , Erin has a background in geotechnical engineering and has worked across a broad range of commodities.  As the former superintendent of Newcrest Mining’s Telfer gold mine, Erin leveraged her skills while working in project management before moving into leadership roles.

The WA mining community was well represented at the event and included attendees from companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue, South 32, Thiess to name a few.