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Building his confidence

Mat has always been mechanically minded. He wasn’t made for sitting in the classroom, and he yearned to do something he was really good at: working with his hands.

Moving between Boddington, Wandering and Armadale in his youth, Mat decided to pursue a career in engineering. He completed a bridging course and soon got an interview to begin an apprenticeship at South32’s Boddington  Bauxite Mine.

Having grown up locally, Mat was aware of the mine site, but he didn’t know much more about South32 as a company, except that his cousin worked there as a Diesel Fitter, and loved it.

One of the things Mat loves most about working for South32 is the flexibility that allows him to lead a full life outside of work. For Mat - who plays soccer, races dirt bikes, plays guitar and piano, and works on his parent’s farm - this is important.

“Most other companies do week on, week off. We’re never on for more than five days, and then you get four or five days off,” said Mat.

When he is working, he’s part of a strong crew (as well as two cousins that work on site) that work hard but get along.

“We are a close crew: we do monthly barbecues, Christmas parties, all of that,” he said. “I carpool with Tehlia, our apprentice,” he said.

“In my time at South32, starting with an apprenticeship, I’ve always been encouraged to take on more responsibilities. In the past year I’ve run a couple of builds, shut downs, and right now I’m filling in as 2IC,” he said.

He has also taken part in internal Emergency Response Training, giving him accreditation to work as a highly-skilled member of an emergency response team.

“It’s something I can see myself doing in the future,” he said.