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Meet Oli Baddeley, Environment Graduate

18 JANUARY 2024

We caught up with Oli, an Environment Graduate who has recently completed his first year in South32’s graduate program at Cannington Mine, to discuss some key highlights of his time at Cannington, his plans for the future, and some advice for future graduates and vacation students.

Tell us a bit about your role at South32 

I am a second year Graduate, Environment based in the Global Environmental and Technical Stewardship team in Perth. South32 offers a structured two-year environmental graduate program that prioritises hands on experience, collaboration, innovation and support from mentors and leaders. As part of the program, we undertake site-based rotations to gain exposure to the operations and a well-rounded understanding of the resources sector. 

Tell us about your first year in South32’s graduate program 

I was lucky enough to undertake my first-year site-based rotation at Cannington Mine in North West Queensland. Here, I was able to gain an understanding of all aspects of mining operations, and hands on experience in the diverse roles and responsibilities of an environmental professional. 

With the support of Cannington’s senior environmental experts, I have gained experience in everything from monthly andannual reporting, analysing and monitoring data, conducting sampling and flora and fauna management. 

As part of the program, I have also been working on a collaborative project with a team of graduates, exploring the feasibility of implementing a wellness app, and undertaking software development for implementation. This has been a challenging and interesting project to work on, and I have found it really rewarding to explore and potentially implement an innovative tool that will have practical benefits for the health and wellbeing of South32 employees.  

What were some of the key highlights?  

A highlight for me has been immersing myself in the culture and wider community at Cannington. I relocated from Perth in late 2022 and embraced the FIFO lifestyle. The even time roster provided great work-life balance and more opportunity to travel, and I have built strong friendships with many of my colleagues at Cannington. 

I also had the chance to get involved with events and initiatives in our neighbouring communities, such as attending the Julia Creek ‘Dirt N Dust’ festival in April 2023. Cannington is a major sponsor of the event, and it was great to witness firsthand the positive impact of responsible mining, and the importance of being good neighbours and responsible corporate citizens. 

The graduate trip to Perth in September 2023 was another key highlight for me. We undertook a workshop with guest speakers, focused on communication, team building and professional development. 

What did you love most about your time at Cannington? 

The best part about Cannington is of course the people and the great culture. I am thankful for the relationships I have built and the opportunities I have received, particularly thanks to Cannington’s Environment team – Tracey, Nick and Emily. Thank you for sharing your expertise and being great mentors. I also want to thank the wider Health Safety Emergency response team for their ongoing support.  

What are your next steps for your career?  

My first year in the program provided a solid foundation for what I hope will be a life-long journey of learning, growth, and innovation.  

At the moment I’ve been given the opportunity to be part of the environmental stewardship team in Perth CBD for a few months before next year’s secondment at South32’s Worsley Alumina. My current experience with the corporate team has provided a great insight into the global operations. I’m inspired and energised for the upcoming year and future projects.  

I plan to complete my graduate program with South32 and continue to establish myself as a specialist in environmental management and stewardship. 

What advice would you give to prospective students looking to apply for a graduate position? 

For those considering a career in mining or applying for a graduate program, I encourage you to give it a go and take every opportunity the industry providesr career development and personal growth. South32’s program offers exposure to many aspects of mining operations with supportive mentors, as well as engagement opportunities across the business and with peers.  



Applications are set to open for the 2025 Graduate Program in the coming months. Learn more about South32's Graduate Program here.