Kimberley Duff is an Underground Mine Geologist for OZ Minerals. She has three children and works a FIFO role – making her an inspiration to many of her colleagues. At WORK180, our Endorsed Employers know that support is key for parents successfully managing work and family. So, we spoke to Kimberley about how she makes it all work, her biggest successes and her dreams for the future.
Returning to the workforce after children
Kimberley took five years off work when she had her three children, to focus on her family. But as an enthusiastic, ambitious woman, she wanted to return to work two years ago to have something for herself and progress her career in geology. Knowing she needed to balance family and work, she chose OZ Minerals.
“I had worked for OZ Minerals in the past and knew they were a great company to work for.”
Now she is an Underground Mine Geologist, based at Carrapateena mine in South Australia, doing underground wall mapping, logging core, and geology project work. Kimberley works a FIFO roster, meaning she is onsite and away from home for eight days, and then back home full time with her kids and family for six days.
While she loves her work, her greatest challenge is balancing raising a family while doing FIFO work. Family support is a huge part of helping Kimberley manage her career and caring for her family.
“My husband is amazing. He is very hands on with the kids and he is a great Dad. We also have family support nearby – Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Friends to help out when required.”
When she’s rostered off work, she makes the most of her family time by spending lots of time together camping, going to the beach, and walking their dog.
“I try to enjoy my days off and take advantage of each day doing something that makes me happy.”
A successful career path in mining
When we asked what Kimberley would like to be known for, she shared,
“Kindness and being known for quality work”.
In her role, Kimberley does plenty of underground mapping and logging core. We didn’t know what they were either!
“Underground mapping is recording information of the exposed rock from inside the ore body. Details such as lithology, alteration, structure and mineralisation are recorded, and every metre is sampled for copper and gold assay results. Logging core is from the underground diamond drilling where similar but more extensive information is recorded. I really enjoy doing both of these aspects of the job!”
Kimberley had previously worked with OZ Minerals at their Prominent Hill mine, and before her career break she was working on other contracting geology jobs. Knowing what she needed when she returned to full time work, it was a no brainer for her to look to OZ Minerals again.
The truth about FIFO and family
Kimberley’s team and managers are very supportive of her family dynamic and she’s passionate about women believing anything is possible, especially while raising a family!
We asked her about top tips for other mothers considering FIFO opportunities, and she shared:
- Keep an open mind. “Definitely consider the role, without dismissing it in the too hard basket. My boss is very supportive and encouraged me to make it work.”
- Build support around you. “Make sure you have your support in place (stable family, partner, childcare, school and stable home life). Routine is super important.”
- Enjoy the down time! “Enjoy your days off and make the most of your time with your husband and kids.”
- Focus on self care. “Look after yourself – emotional, physical and mental health whilst at work and at home. I try to be a good Mum and Wife and not let the stresses of work burn me out.”
The culture at OZ Minerals is crucial to Kimberley’s success, and they focus on enabling parents to have exciting careers and a great family life.
“My boss and my team are very supportive of family life as most of us are parents. If we need time off, annual leave, or carers leave it is accommodated and the team will work around it. The key is to be open in communicating when you need it and how to make it work.”
And parenting aside, culture is such a huge factor in allowing you to bring your whole self to work and feel like you belong in your working environment. That’s especially important when working FIFO – as you’re with your colleagues for days at a time without your family and friends around. Luckily, OZ Minerals has valued the importance of a strong culture.
“The culture at Carrapateena – OZ Minerals is excellent. It is very friendly and inclusive. I feel like I can be myself and there are a lot of great people that work here.”
Although of course there have been challenges, for Kimberley the sky is the limit as she digs into her career at OZ Minerals She offers a cheer for other mothers following in her footsteps and enthusiastically says,