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What Is the Progression Like in Drilling?

With more jobs than people in the market, candidates realise they have more opportunities than ever. Great news, right? Once upon a time, people would have been content with their local, 9-to-5 job paying minimum wage, but that is no longer the case. There are more opportunities, and better-paying roles are more accessible now.

So how do you get into one of them? And what does the career progression look like?

The reason Drillers Offsiding is appealing to many candidates is the fact that it is an entry-level position and it pays well. Not everyone desires to become a brain surgeon (well, it certainly wasn't on my list). Some people want to get their hands dirty, enjoy bush or camp life and earn a decent dollar for a decent day's work – and that's why we love offsiders!

To be considered, you need to have

  • At least 4 months in a labour-intensive role

  • A clean National Police Clearance (apply for this when you start looking for FIFO roles as there are delays currently)

  • A valid C-class manual driver's licence (an HR-Licence is even better)

  • The ability to pass a pre-employment medical

  • Be able to pass a drug and alcohol test

So now we know you have what it takes; let us answer the most commonly asked question we hear as recruiters "What is the progression like in drilling?".

There are many names for Offsiders used in the industry – Drillers Offsider, Drillers Assistant, Green hat, Utility Worker and various levels of progression within these titles. There is rapid expansion in the drilling industry, more rigs across more projects, so naturally, need more people to do the work. This need has led to much faster progression than we would have seen, say, five years ago. But remember, none of our clients will put you on the levers until you're ready.

There is no 'one-size-fits-all' timeline regarding career progression in drilling. However, to give you a rough idea, it could look something like this:

  • 0 – 6 months Drillers Offsider 1

  • 6 – 18 months Drillers Offsider 2 (complete Cert II in Drilling)

  • 18 – 24 months Trainee Driller (undertake Cert III in Drilling)

  • 24 + months Driller (start Cert IV in Drilling)

  • After a few years of drilling, you can move to Senior Driller or even Drilling Supervisor

Now, many factors can affect this timeline. Some of the more common ones are:

  • The company you work for may have more resources available, and they can train you faster than if others employed you.

  • The training provider that your employer uses may not be progressing through the course quite as fast as they could.

  • The site you are working on may have no room for you to progress at the moment. Be patient. It will come.

  • Lastly, it could be that you aren't ready. We have many frustrated people applying because their current employer hasn't moved them to Level-2 (when they only have 2 months of Offsiding experience). Patience is a virtue.

I have worked with drilling companies where one of the best workers was an offsider for 5 years simply because he loved the job and didn't want the responsibility of becoming a Driller. You'll be pleased to hear he is now a Driller with a reputable company.

I have encountered Drillers who have drilled a few years and wanted to go back to Offsiding; again, they didn't want the responsibility and wanted to be more hands-on.

Then on the flip side, one of my best offsiders was ready to drill after 3 months as a Trainee – he was the exception, but he had a great driller, a great trainer and the best work ethic I have ever encountered.

I guess what I am trying to say is every situation is different.

So your next question might be, 'How do I get to be part of this amazing industry?'

Contact us here at Itch, of course! We will walk you through the process. Whether you want to work in exploration drilling, underground drilling, or minesite only. Even if you only want information, we're here to help!

For job vacancies and all the information on our roles, head to our Mining + Drilling page.

A woman wearing black smiling with her arms folded

Manager - Drilling

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