IPSWICH women are signing up in their droves for an opportunity to address the gender imbalance in the Queensland mining industry.
Under a new State Government plan, at least 20 Queensland women will be offered training and jobs in BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) coal mines in the Bowen Basin.
The jobs form part of the State Government's Women in Hard Hats initiative, designed to improve economic prosperity for Queensland women.
After expecting about 30 women to attend an information session in Ipswich, a huge response means up to 100 are now expected.
Ebenezer Employment and Training manager Carly Lawrence said the response had been overwhelming.
"We've had a phenomenal amount of interest in such a short amount of time," Ms Lawrence said.
"Nothing like this has ever been offered to women before."
Raceview mother-of-two Jacqui Stringer was one of the first to register her interest.
The 35-year-old said she saw the job as a chance to build life changing skills and provide security for her family.
"I've always wanted to get into the mines," Ms Stringer said.
"To be given this opportunity as a female with no mining experience is just unreal."
Successful candidates will secure jobs paying more than $80,000 per year, working underground in a variety of jobs in the coal mining sector.
With the jobs based in Central Queensland, Ipswich-based workers would work on a fly-in, fly-out basis.
Ms Stringer said she was prepared for the challenges presented by a mining job.
"The kids have grandparents here and we've all spoken about the possibility of having to work away. Everybody is more than happy about it.
"The kids won't be at home forever and I'm still young enough to get a career and a trade.
"It's about financial security as well for me and my family."
BMA Asset president Steve Dumble said that recruiting female workers was critical for the mining industry.
"Women bring a broad range of skills to the mining sector, and if our industry is to continue to expand we need to recruit more women," Mr Dumble said.
Jobs for the girls
- Unemployed women or those affected by natural disasters will be prioritised for the jobs.
- The Ipswich information session is Monday.
- Register at www.women.qld.gov.au.
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