Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Nicholls Leads the Way; More and More Women Breaking into the Industry

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Nicholls Leads the Way; More and More Women Breaking into the Industry

Article excerpt

FIONA Nicholls works in the resources industry, but doesn't truck coal. She doesn't operate million-dollar machinery, or work a FIFO roster on an isolated, dusty project.

What she does do is lead the external relations team of one of the largest diversified mining companies on the planet.

A 25-year veteran of the industry, Fiona was recently recognised as the winner of the 2012 QRC Resources Award for Women. She's the Vice President Co External Relations for Rio Tinto Energy, the only female member of Rio Tinto Coal Australia's executive committee, one of three women on Rio Tinto's global Energy product group executive committee and a recent appointee to the board of The Brisbane Institute.

A passion for the environment and a desire to work outdoors attracted Fiona to her first industry role in 1987, as an environmental officer with Santos.

Fiona said that the ensuing years have brought challenges, rewards and a continuing increase in the number of women joining the industry.

C[pounds sterling]I wanted a role that would be rewarding, challenging and different,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]I'm really pleased to say that in my 25 years in this industry, I have seen the number of women in mining grow.

C[pounds sterling]It's still the case that there is a lower percentage of women in mining when compared with other industries, but the numbers are improving.

C[pounds sterling]Women are now being employed in a variety of roles in this industry Co from truck drivers, to apprentices, as mechanics, environmental officers, cultural heritage, engineers, surveyors as well as middle and senior management.

C[pounds sterling]Fortunately earlier stereotyping of women in the workforce is changing, and this is a reflection of the change that is happening in wider society.C[yen]

As the number of women attracted to careers in mining continues to increase, the industry ultimately becomes more adaptable and more productive. …

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