An AIMS representative has presented at New Zealand's Otago University in promoting the career opportunities as a mine surveyor.
On the 10th of September 2019, AIMS took an opportunity to go beyond our shorelines and present to Otago University School of Surveying in New Zealand.
The primary purpose of the trip, as with visits to Australian education institutions, was to build an ongoing relationship between AIMS and the Otago University School of Surveying. This includes raising awareness of student eligibility as AIMS student members, as well as (and more importantly) educating students in general mine surveying and the opportunities it presents.
Otago University, like many other universities teaching surveying, tends to focus predominantly on cadastral and engineering surveying. The concepts and practical applications of mine surveying are not presented to students, and there is also a lack of understanding among students as to what mine surveyors do. In the fourth year of study there is one lecture covering some basic mining concepts, however by this stage many students have already committed to a particular career path, and in some cases secured permanent employment after university.
The presentation was aimed at second- and third-year students, and covered AIMS membership, the open cut coal mining process, survey deliverables in an open cut coal mine, technology and industry developments, and Australian mine surveying employers.
The students were very engaged and interested in the content and information and provided feedback that it was great to see industry institutes taking the time to make them aware of what opportunities lie beyond university.
An interesting learning from the trip was that another key blocker to more students entering the mine surveying industry from abroad is the perception of working conditions, rosters, and lack of work diversity. There is still a perception that mine surveying is dirty, walking on coal stockpiles all day, working terrible rosters with no real opportunity to do high accuracy or interesting survey work. This perception is exactly why AIMS is targeting this audience, to continue working to raise the profile of mine surveying and make the next generation of mine surveyors aware of the alternative to engineering and cadastral surveying.
The surveying industry in New Zealand is very good currently, with graduate wages rising, and three jobs available per graduate leaving university (with over 60 graduates a year!). While this is very good for the surveying profession generally, it does present challenges in securing graduates to the mining sector.
AIMS intends to continue targeting university students all through their studies to contribute to the ongoing and steady supply of capable and professional surveyors to the mining industry.