JOBS: How a ballerina became a haul truck driver

Paaige Tate, who is doing a WorkPac traineeship with Rio Tinto at Hail Creek, was once a ballerina and office worker.
Paaige Tate, who is doing a WorkPac traineeship with Rio Tinto at Hail Creek, was once a ballerina and office worker. Luke Mortimer

FROM ballerina and office worker to haul truck operator at Hail Creek, Paaige Tate is proof if you work relentlessly and don't give up, you will score the job of your dreams.

The 42-year-old Hay Point resident, currently undergoing a WorkPac traineeship with Rio Tinto, was out of work for about two and a half years before scoring the unlikely, but well-earned gig.

"I applied with WorkPac after going to all the recruiting agencies... I was told at first it wasn't going to happen, there was lots of negativity," she said.

"But I began to form relationships - I was a bit of squeaky gate. I ended up getting contacted by WorkPac and offered a Certificate 2 in Surface Extractions.

"It was way out of my comfort zone, getting on to a front end loader, a skid steer.

"But still, I was told mining wasn't doing too well, it's doom and gloom, you're barking up the wrong tree - you're crazy."

But Ms Tate "knew she was on the right track" and kept knocking on doors and making herself known.

"I just kept looking everywhere I could. Then, when my extraction course finished I sourced people here in Mackay, told them my plans, what I wanted to do, asked if they could help."

Eventually, she started training with AJK Contracting - with Andrew Kippen - "and he let me come in and use his equipment, train with the guys with 20, 30, 40 years experience".

"I turned up, trained with him on his 40 tonne excavators. I did this for about four months ... then I got a phone call from WorkPac saying my resume got put forward at Hail Creek, they liked it.

"I actually screamed down the phone. I was so excited - I was almost about to give up at that time, you know, I was like 'what are you doing, why are you doing this?'

"I think you've just got to keep at it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep going. It's the times you stop bettering yourself, it won't work."

Ms Tate advised jobseekers who jumped on board the Mercury's 100 Jobs in 50 Days campaign to "do something to stand out. Don't be like everyone else - and be positive."

Topics:  100-jobs-50-days ballet employment jobs mackay mining

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sharing cultures through food

DIG IN: Lockyer Valley Community Centre volunteers at the Harmony Day food tasting

Community centre hosts Harmony Day event

Gordon reflects on farming life in the Lockyer

LOOKING BACK: Laidley's Gordon Niebling says he has loved his farming life and living in the Lockyer Valley.

The self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades”, Gordon Niebling.

Clare Atkinson Journalism Scholarship needs your support

IN HONOUR: Brightview's Lesley Atkinson is urging the public to help continue the Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.

Help continue Clare Atkinson's legacy and the future of journalism.

Local Partners