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Top award for encouraging women to enter resources sector

8 March 2013

The judges couldn't separate them, so two women from very different backgrounds share this year's prestigious Gender Diversity Champion category of the Queensland Resources Council's Resources Awards for Women.

Rebecca Capper, Human Resources Specialist (Diversity) for Anglo American Metallurgical Coal and Tash Fee, owner/trainer/ and assessor of TNT Training Solutions have been recognised for their outstanding effort to encourage, promote and advocate for the attraction, selection, promotion and retention of women within the resources sector.

Rebecca says her vision for gender diversity in the resources sector is to see focus on ‘diversity’ or 'difference' shift more toward recognising the importance of ‘inclusion’, particularly to creating a fair, equitable, healthy and high performing business where all employees are respected, feel engaged and their contributions valued.

In her current role, Rebecca has actively utilised her 13 years of experience in the black coal industry to develop and drive a comprehensive plan to address issues for women working in the company, including the implementation of initiatives including a pilot mentoring program to assist female professionals in their career progression.

Tash has given endless time, at her own personal expense, to help women (and men) achieve their dreams by gaining valuable training qualifications in the hope to secure full-time employment within the mining and resources sector.

She is a qualified motor mechanic and mining mechanical fitter as well as holding qualifications in business, management, project management, vocational education and training, and human resources.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche says the awards, which lift the profile of women in the minerals and energy sector and provide a cohort of female industry ambassadors, are part of the QRC's plan to increase the proportion of women in 'non-traditional' roles in the resources sector to 20 percent by 2020.

'The good news is that the most recent survey of QRC members shows that we are on track to reach our target,' said Mr Roche.

'Our 2011-12 survey shows that women make up just under 12 percent of 'non-traditional' roles, such as engineers, geologists, trades, operators and senior management, up from 11 percent the previous year.

'The proportion of women across all occupations is 14 percent, up from 13 percent in 2010-11.

'It's particularly pleasing to see that the proportion of women in trades increased from two to three percent, though obviously there is still a long way to go in this area, it's women like Tash who are out there making the difference here.

'It's also pleasing to see a one percent increase in female senior managers to 14 percent and programs such as those initiated by Rebecca are having the desired effect.

While our statistics continue to trend upwards, we know that we need to keep a sharp focus on measures to ensure that the resources sector is attractive to women, and provides a working environment that encourages them to stay.'

The awards were presented today by the Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Lisa France, QRC President Stephen Dumble and Chair of Women in Mining and Resources Queensland Jules Blunt.

QRC also released its latest statistics on gender diversity in the sector. For the full report, click the link below.

Full list of winners:

Overall
Winner: Heather Bell Rio Tinto Coal Australia (Brisbane)
Runner up: Andrea Rutley Anglo American (Brisbane)

Rising Star
Winner: Lucya Yunus Xstrata Copper (Mount Isa)
Runner Up: Kate Brand (Brisbane)

Trade
Winner: Tamara Bellinger Xstrata Copper (Mount Isa)
Highly Commended: Karla Draper Thiess (Inglewood); Nikita Mason BMA (Moranbah); Sandii Rixon BHP Billiton (Poitrel Mine/Brisbane – FIFO)

Operator
Winner: Myf Szepanowski Anglo American Callide Mine (Boundary Hill)
Runner up: Elisha Wesser BMA (Mount Julian)

Gender Diversity Champion
Joint Winners: Rebecca Capper Anglo American (Brisbane); Tash Fee TNT Training Solutions (Calliope)

Best Company Initiative
Winner: Xstrata Mount Isa Mines
Highly Commended: Parsons Brinkerhoff


Further information and photos: Caroline Morrissey 0417 770 893

Winning Women - Leading Practice Principles for the Attraction and Retention of Women in the Minerals and Energy Sector. Seventh edition March 2013