Looking for a career in drilling?

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Home 5 Looking for a career in drilling?

Is drilling the career for you?

Are you looking for a job that pays well, gets you out of the 9 to 5 rut and allows you to develop your competencies and gain qualifications whilst on the job? If this sounds like what you are looking for, a career in drilling could be the right decision. You will work in the outdoors, alongside a team of other like-minded individuals who like a bit of adventure in their lives and to take on different challenges.

Looking for a career in drilling?

Video Library

The Driller’s Offsider Job Ready Program is the perfect opportunity to get started in a new dynamic career.

This program is FREE for jobseekers, youth (under 25) and concession students!

For more information check out the flyer or visit jobsandskills.wa.gov.au/pathways

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to travel away from home?

Quite a lot of drilling is done in remote locations that is not near major cities which means that travel is required. If for example you are living in Perth and are going to be working in the Pilbara, you will need to work on a roster system.

There are situations where you can go home each night, and this could be when working in some type of waterwell, geotechnical or civil drilling which often takes place near a major city or regional town.

If I need to work away, how long will it be for?
A common roster system would be 2 weeks on-site and 1 week back home on break. There are variations on this which require more or less time on-site with a proportionate allowance for break-time.
Who pays for the living costs when away?
This is normally covered by the employer, and you would only need to allow for any personal items. Conditions are usually good with comfortable rooms, plenty of healthy food, great camp facilities including Wi-Fi.
How much will I get paid?

Answer: Drilling does not have its own set of employment Awards, therefore you would be covered by the industry sector you work in. These are mining, coal or civil in most applications. They all work on a base salary amount and then allowances for shift and overtime and anything else applicable. Most employers tend to bundle everything together into an annual salary which covers off on all the various requirements. There are often opportunities to earn additional salary through bonuses based around things like production and safety.

What are the work hours?
Often drilling involves working 12-hour shifts and this could be consecutive days for the time you are at site. It could be day shift, night shift or alternating between the two.
Will I get any training before I start work?
People new to drilling start in supervised, entry level roles to learn the processes involved. This is best done on the job, however there will usually be some form of induction beforehand. This could involve some basic training in skills concerning safety and relevant procedures.
How long will I have to wait before starting qualifications?
This should be made clear to you upfront by your prospective employer. Generally, you would be expected to work a minimum of 3 months before starting your Certificate 2 in Drilling. Some companies will want you to work for 6 months to ensure that you are going to stick around before they get you enrolled and started. It is up to the company who is employing you to determine this based on what fits their own needs.
Will I need to get drug and alcohol tested to get into the industry?
The simple answer to this one is yes! You will likely need to do so as part of the application and screening phase and then at the workplace on a regular basis.
As there is a lot of large machinery being used, how safe is it working in the drilling industry?
Drilling is a safe occupation when site procedures are correctly followed. The equipment itself that you would work on is designed with many built-in safeguards to protect personnel from injury. Site rules are comprehensive to protect workers to ensure that they go about their work in a safe manner. Not complying with safety directives is considered a serious breach and can result in dismissal.
What are the career prospects like?

People starting out in the drilling industry do so in an offsider position, sometimes also called a driller’s helper or assistant. This is where you learn how the operation works and what the different pieces of the drilling system do and how they need to be serviced and maintained. To become competent at this would likely take anywhere up to 12 months. Take a look at our video to get a better understanding of this.

Offsiders who show the right temperament and can demonstrate that they are ready to go to the next level, could transition from there into a trainee driller role.

The longer you stay in the drilling industry and gain more experience, the more your career prospects open up. Drillers have the opportunity to upskill to supervisor roles, operations management and even one day owning their own drill rig.

Can females apply?
In the past, drilling was dominated by males and this image somewhat still persists. However, drilling companies are actively employing women as they can do the same work around a rig that men can do. Part of this is because drilling processes are more automated these days and do not require as much physical effort as in previous times. Exploration and mining camps also now have separate facilities to accommodate women being on-site.
How old do I need to be?
One of the requirements expected of a driller’s offsider is to drive the trucks that are used to mobilise the equipment to and from site. Therefore, the requirement to do this and gain a HV drivers’ license is to be a minimum of 21 years old. If you are not yet 21, then there is always the option of working in underground drilling because trucks are not used in day-to-day operations. All that is usually needed here is to demonstrate competency in driving a 4WD vehicle.
Are there other job roles available in the drilling industry?

Drilling companies need fitters and mechanics, electricians and boilermakers to perform rebuild, service and maintenance requirements. To start out in these roles requires undertaking a more formalised apprenticeship that can be for 3-4 years in length. Once the apprenticeship is completed, the tradesperson can then have the choice of working in a home base workshop or elect to work at the jobsite.

Those tradespeople who choose to work at the jobsite usually work the same rosters as the drilling staff. In recognition of this extra time on the job, the salaries on offer are quite a bit higher compared with those at home base. Drilling companies are often looking for tradespeople the same as they are looking for drilling staff, with them currently being in high demand.

How do I get started?

There are a few different approaches to take. You could go through one of the recruitment firms that hire drillers and offsiders. Alternatively, you could search for drilling companies in your vicinity and make enquiries direct. Currently most companies have vacancies and would be only too willing to receive your application.

You can also reach out to us at info@adia.com.au and we should be able to provide some guidance.

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