For Amanda West, an Underground Mine Geologist at Newcrest Mining, her happy place is anywhere she can wear her steel cap boots.
“They make me feel tall, safe and happy.”
More than that, putting them on means she’s doing the work she loves – Geology. But there was a time after having her three children, when she thought she would never get to wear her steel caps again.
Sharing her pregnancy news with Newcrest
Amanda had been working for Newcrest for two years alongside her husband in a Fly in Fly out (FIFO) role when she fell pregnant with their first child. Placing a strong value on transparency and honesty Amanda was very upfront, telling her manager about the pregnancy before she had even reached 12 weeks. The conversations went smoothly, and Newcrest was supportive and understanding.
“The managers onsite have always been very understanding. When I shared the news, my manager said ‘Congratulations! Whatever you need and whenever you need to start your parental leave, just tell us.”
Newcrest empowered Amanda to talk openly about work flexibility and adjusting to life as a new parent and as a new family. Working in a regional WA mining site gets hot, really hot, add to this the morning sickness of early pregnancy and you have a recipe for pretty tough days at work. But her team made all the difference by letting her work from the airconditioned office as often as she could and providing support so she was safe when she needed to work from the mine pit.
“I had really lovely co-workers, and really appreciated it. It was still challenging conditions; I just did everything a little slower. I adjusted my role to keep myself involved, and everyone supported that. And I’ve since seen similar things for my other pregnant colleagues. They were on different career paths and needed different adjustments, but they received the same support and flexibility I did.”
Life during her career break
Amanda always hoped to go back to Newcrest after her parental leave but knew having both parents working FIFO might be a difficult juggle with a young family. After 12 months leave, Amanda received a call from Newcrest to explore her options for returning to work, or if she wanted to extend her leave another 12 months.
As much as she was eager to get back into her steel cap shoes again, Amanda had just found out she was pregnant with her second child and made the difficult decision to officially resign her position. In the two and a half years that followed, Amanda’s family grew to include three beautiful children. But, despite her bliss as a mother, she missed her career in geology. Whilst her husband James continued to work FIFO, Amanda decided she needed something more.
“I love being mother, but I was craving the challenge of working again. I wanted something more than a casual job and thought maybe I could study to be science teacher. After eight months study, I realized it wasn’t my passion like geology had been.”
Did you know Newcrest are also open to discussing flexible working at the interview stage for brand new employees as well?
Find out more about Newcrest benefits and policies
The path back to Newcrest
Working FIFO can be challenging, as it means blocks of time away from family. For Amanda’s husband James, this strain took a toll on his mental health. Transparent and honest conversations with Newcrest once again lead to positive results for their family.
As luck would have it, a new position at Newcrest’s Cadia operations in Orange, NSW became available, and James gladly took it. Amanda was amazed by the understanding and continued support Newcrest had shown after her husband opened up about his mental health and was excited to move closer to her own family in Orange. Much to Amanda’s delight the transfer came with one more surprise – an open invitation for her to return to Newcrest as well.
“Newcrest said I could come back, and my first thought was, I can put my steel cap boots of power on again!”
The initial discussions were very open ended, granting Amanda flexibility for her return to work. At the time she could only get her children into two days of childcare, so she just returned on a two-day week contract.
Amanda shares the employee benefits that have meant the most to her, since returning to work:
“The flexibility to be able to drop the children off to school or pick them up, the supportive environment from my Supervisor and Manager to prioritize my family, and the ‘parents return to work program’ has been amazing. They’ve allowed me to re-enter the workforce and get back to doing the job I love.”
Conquering her career with Newcrest
For Amanda, the confidence and joy she gets from putting on her Newcrest uniform (including those all-powerful steel cap boots) and returning to her geology career has been a dream come true. This passion has shown in her work, even leading to recognition in her last performance review for the positive impact she’s had for the safety culture within the team since she started back.
Maybe your uniform looks a little different to Amanda’s steel caps, but if you’re a parent returning to work with Newcrest, she does offer some sound advice:
“If you find something you love, don’t give up on it and always be upfront with you and your family’s needs. I’ve never had anything but flexibility when I’ve been open and transparent with Newcrest.”