September 6, 2021

Supporting single parents to thrive at BHP

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.

Reagan Spencer is a proud single mum to her two children. She knows stereotypes can cause barriers preventing single mums from thriving, and she’s adamant that it’s not going to stop her – and it shouldn’t stop other single mums either!

“I want to be an advocate for single parents, so they see the good, the bad, and the sad. I want other single parents to know that it doesn’t define who you are. Focus on how you’re growing and where you want to be, because the end goal is what we all strive for.”

Continued training and supporting a team to thrive

Reagan joined BHP as an administrator, and then took on a Drill and Blast Traineeship in Newman, WA. From there, she took a secondment to General Admin and Mining Projects which she is really enjoying. There are numerous secondment opportunities, giving Reagan the chance to develop new skills and understand different parts of the business.

Reagan admits she never even would have considered a drill and blast traineeship prior to starting at BHP. She appreciates the endless opportunities for her to learn new things and develop her skills, and credits the supportive leadership at BHP for enabling her success.

“You can’t grow and develop without having a supportive leader. The leader I have now is really good, asking what she can do to support me. It’s about open communication – they’re not mind readers. You need to let them know what they can do to support you.”

The combination of strong relationships with supportive leaders, a thirst for knowledge, and an environment at BHP that encourages development means Reagan has all the opportunities she could hope for.

“Whenever you’re ready for a new opportunity, it will be available at BHP.”


Making it work as a single mum

“I’ve been a single mum for most of my parenting, and had my oldest when I was 17. Being a child myself and raising a child – which meant I encountered a lot of hurdles.”

Reagan says she was growing and learning to support herself starting a career, while also supporting a child. It was – and still is – important to Reagan to be a good role model and show her kids what’s possible.

“You’ve got to get yourself together and have a plan. It’s hard sometimes, you can’t sugar coat it. But where do you draw the line at unconditional love and support, and giving them what you want them to have in life?”

Her children are now 5 and 12, and Reagan is proud of everything she’s achieved. We commented on her resilience at building an amazing life for herself and her children.

“I’ve faced a lot of challenges. But resilience grows you into who you are. Being a single parent changes who you are forever. It’s not just you anymore, you’re financially supporting yourself and your children.”


For Reagan, planning had never come easily. But she says learning to plan has been a huge stress reliever. She laughed,

“Now I could take it up as a career!”

Healthy coping mechanisms have been important to her mental health, as well. Reagan plays a lot of sport and has an amazing support network.

“I have built a strong foundation up here. I’ve got a strong group of friends that if I can’t carry myself for a day because I’m upset – we’re only human, it happens – they’re there.”

Laughing and looking on the bright side are also important to Reagan.

“You need to be able to laugh things off, and let things be like water off a ducks back. It’s about how you grow, be kind to yourself, and for the love of God, laugh!!”

She connects with her kids by talking about the highs and lows of their days over dinner.

“We always end on a high – something we love, something that made us laugh. Then when we go to bed, we’ve felt something good, and I know what’s gone on with my kids that day.”

Supporting families at BHP

Reagan recently started working on the annual Family Day Project in the Human Resources Operations team, where families are invited to the mine sites.

“They get to come to site and see a day in the life of mum and dad, how cool we are, and what our work is about. We also have family-oriented activities. This year we’re looking at doing something that resonates with families – love and support.”

This is one of many ways BHP support their working parents. In the mining town of Newman, WA, where Reagan is based, BHP offer a ‘flex center’. It’s a house in town set up for BHP employees to go and work – and take their kids. It’s attached to the neighborhood center who will care for children for a nominal fee, but there are also kids’ rooms in the flex center. If a child is sick, they can have the day off school and be with their parents in the flex center, saving sick leave, annual leave, and stress!

On school days Reagan sometimes works from the flex center, enabling her to leave at 2pm to collect her son, then dropping him next door at the neighborhood center so she can finish work while he plays with his friends.

“I can get my work done and run around like we do as single parents, and he gets to play with his friends. I don’t get judged for being a single parent and trying to do my best. It’s amazing.”

Additionally, Reagan appreciates BHP’s focus on policies to support women overcoming their own challenges.

‘It is great to work with a company that works really hard to start breaking down the cycle of things like domestic violence and mental health. It helps to create a little more light in such an imperfect world.’

For Reagan the future is bright at BHP. She is thriving with the opportunities she continues to receive, and the supportive culture means her proud-single-parent status doesn’t hold her back at all.

“Don’t define yourself by where you started, focus on how you’re growing. I started off on nothing and now I’m doing really well! Be kind to yourself, and make sure you keep laughing!”


For more information on finding your career path at BHP and how to get there, like Reagan, visit: The recruitment process | BHP

Want more articles like this sent to your inbox every month?

Just let us know what kind of support you’re looking for so we can sign you up to receive the right newsletter for you.

Stay in touch with our ‘Women at work’ newsletter

Enter your details to sign up to our newsletter for the women in our community. Every month you’ll be sent our latest news, advice, inspiration and resources for supporting your career.

Looking for HR and DEI updates?

Check out our monthly newsletter for HR professionals.

About the Author
Samantha Sutherland is the Chief Storyteller at WORK180. She is a Diversity and Inclusion specialist with an analytical background, making her work evidence-based and data driven. Host of WORK180’s Equality Talks podcast and her own Women at Work, Samantha divides her time between interviewing amazing women for WORK180, mentoring and coaching women in, or aspiring to, leadership roles, and providing high-level advice on diversity practices to Australian corporations. You can learn more about the Samantha Sutherland consultancy at

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.