Yasmin Gomes has an important role at OZ Minerals, and that is ensuring the health and safety of its people. Yasmin finds her role as a Graduate Occupational Hygienist incredibly rewarding. She has always had a fixation with the natural environment and loves the challenges and opportunities the mining industry offers. In our conversation, Yasmin shares with us her incredible graduate experience to date, career tips for anyone interested in getting into mining and also her goals and plans for her future at OZ Minerals.
Getting work experience nice and early
Yasmin had always imagined a career in influencing policy within our government institutions. However, a chance encounter with a job board changed everything.
“I studied a Bachelor of Health Science at University with a major in Public and Environmental Health. I wanted to work within local government in an environmental health advisor role once I graduated. I never considered mining as an option. The opportunity to be part of OZ Minerals’ vacation program came to me through my Uni jobs board and it sounded like an interesting challenge. That’s where the journey began.”
Yasmin started at OZ Minerals as a vacation program student for a few months before joining as a casual Occupational Hygiene Technician during her final year of university. She was thrilled to formally secure a graduate spot as an Occupational Hygiene Graduate at the beginning of 2021.
To ensure a safe working environment for everyone on site, Yasmin conducts daily monitoring of health hazards in the environment. Safety is big in mining and so there is a structured plan in place from beginning to end.
“Mining is very fast-paced. Every day is different. Sometimes I’ll spend 4 to 5 hours underground conducting radiation testing to ensure different areas in the mine are safe for access. I also monitor environmental contaminants such as gases, dust, and noise amongst the various workgroups on-site. There is also heat stress and temperature readings underground and on the surface.”
For the love of David Attenborough
We asked where Yasmin’s fascination with nature and our environment came from. She shares how she was born and raised in Dubai, a very densely populated urban jungle. She says she was constantly longing for greener surroundings.
“My ethnic background is Indian although my family lived in Dubai for the first nine years of my life. Because Dubai is urban, I’ve always been fascinated with the environment and the natural world through watching David Attenborough’s documentaries. In 2009, we migrated to Adelaide. I love the natural beauty of Australia.”
Aside from learning a lot and doing a fabulous job in her current role, Yasmin counts learning to drive a manual vehicle as one of her achievements.
“All mining sites have manual vehicles. When I started, I didn’t know how to drive manual and had to quickly learn.”
A great employee experience
We asked about what it is like to work at OZ Minerals and what kind of culture they have. Yasmin shared,
“It’s a friendly team environment here. My teammates come from all walks of life and ages. What’s great is the learning opportunities offered, and every day is different. Work is physically and mentally stimulating and I love how I am not stuck behind a desk. There are lots of pathways to upskill and grow into leadership positions.”
OZ Minerals made the introduction to FIFO (that’s Fly In Fly Out) very smooth for Yasmin and she appreciates the considered thought and care OZ Minerals puts into making the whole employee experience a remarkable one. The flexibility that OZ Minerals offers, allows Yasmin to enjoy her work and build out her career while also spending valuable time with her family.
“I have so much work flexibility here. My FIFO schedule is eight days on and six days off.”
When Yasmin is not at work collecting samples, she is a big fan of cricket and AFL. When India plays Australia in cricket, she says she is torn about which side she supports! She loves watching sport and having good old banter with her family.
Yasmin has also taken a liking to music and is teaching herself to play the piano. And of course, as a lover of the environment, she loves to spend time gardening when she can.
“Make a difference and be kind”
OZ Minerals truly sets its people up for success. Yasmin says her colleagues go out of their way to support her.
“The mentorship I have received from senior members of my team and the wider OZ community has been amazing, especially the Occupational Hygiene Specialist with whom I have worked very closely. The guidance and encouragement I received, has allowed me to strive for success and has made my time on-site more enjoyable.”
We ended the conversation with Yasmin sharing her top career tips for anyone wishing to take on a graduate role in mining or thinking about giving this dynamic industry a go.
“If you’re still studying, remember to take advantage of career workshops and events at University. It really helped prepare me for the working world. Also, be open to new things and show your willingness to learn as much as possible. That certainly helped me settle in well at OZ Minerals. It’s been like a second family here as I transitioned to FIFO. Don’t forget to have fun too — it’s a fun industry to get into.”
One of the most pivotal moments for Yasmin was when she started her vacation program. There was a welcome letter that said:
“You’ll succeed if you work hard and be kind.”
It has stuck with Yasmin ever since.