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How Jack is making the most of his Graduate Program experience

20 MARCH 2024

South32's Graduate Program offers a unique learning pathway to help develop skills and set graduates up for their future careers - here's how Jack is making the most of it.

Applications are now open for South32’s 2025 Australian Graduate Program – closing 30 April 2024. 

We recently had a chat to Jack Tuckett, a Graduate Mining Engineer based at GEMCO, to find out about his journey, how he’s found the South32 graduate program, and what advice he would have for students interested in applying. 

What did you do before joining our graduate program? 

I’m originally from Perth where I finished high school and started my first degree in aviation. I originally wanted to be a pilot, but I loved the technical and engineering side of my aviation degree so much that I decided to pack up and move to Melbourne to study a double degree in Mechanical engineering and business management at RMIT. During the final year of my degree, I was looking for graduate work in Melbourne when I stumbled upon advertisements for the South32 graduate program. 

I had never considered working in mining until reading about the graduate program, and after talking to a friend and fellow South32 graduate, I decided to apply.  

Tell us about your experience in South32’s graduate program 

I now live in Cairns and work as a FIFO graduate mining engineer with GEMCO. I’m currently completing my second rotation working in the office as a graduate mining engineer in the short-term planning team. In this role I’ve been honing my design skills and learning about scheduling and planning mining operations.  

I work a 7:7 FIFO roster where I live and work on Groote Eylandt for 7 days and then get 7 days off, which I spend enjoying Queensland’s warm weather at the beach, and hiking, camping, and competing in triathlons. 

Prior to my current role, I spent four months driving haul trucks across day and night shifts and three months on the drill and blast team setting up explosives and firing them. My next rotations will include operating dozers and working on the pumps and sumps team where I’ll learn about our pit dewatering processes and how to execute dozer push designs. 

As a part of the graduate program, we also get flown to Perth each September for the South32 graduate residential. It was a great chance to meet the other graduates from our Australian and Singapore operations, participate in skills development workshops, and meet the executive leadership team at South32.   

How has your experience compared to your expectations? 

When I first started in my role, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had never worked on a mine site before and hadn’t even studied mining engineering. I had a vague idea about what mining engineers do, but it took me almost a year to fully understand what the role entails. 

I’ve really enjoyed being able to switch between working in the office and in the field. I have settled into the FIFO lifestyle well and I got used to working on a mine site fairly quickly.  

What do you most enjoy about the South32 Graduate Program? 

I really enjoy being able to rotate between working in mine planning and operations. Whilst I always learn a lot in the office, I think my most valuable learning takes place in the pits operating heavy machinery. 

What are the next steps for you and your career moving forward? 

I hope to finish up my graduate program in the next year at GEMCO and stay with the team as a mining engineer. Once I finish a years’ worth of field time, I also plan on getting my quarry managers ticket which will allow me to work in more senior positions in other states. Eventually I’d like to move into a senior engineer or superintendent position. 

What advice do you have for future applicants? 

My advice for future applicants is to give everything a go. 

I didn’t come from a mining field of study, and I hadn’t really considered working in the industry until suddenly, I found myself in it. I just gave it a go and applied and did my research on open cut strip mining to get a high-level understanding of GEMCO’s process before interviewing. 

This advice also applies to when you get the job. If someone asks you to do a task that isn’t a typical job for you or you get an opportunity to get out into the field and drive a truck, just give it a go and use it as a learning experience and a way to build your skill set.

Learn more about South32's Graduate Program and apply now for 2025