The Women Who Fly-In Fly-Out…
As the Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) Oil, Gas and Mining Industry is so male dominated, it’s easy to forget the women who also leave their friends and families behind for weeks at a time. However, there are a number FIFO women at EnerMech EPS who play vital roles in our operations and who are every bit as up to the daunting task of early starts and 10 hours shifts in remote locations as the men they work alongside.
We spoke to three of our key site Administrators, Jacqui, Stacey and Evelyn, who left behind “corporate suits and stilettos” and hectic hotels and restaurants, to conquer remote and often challenging on-site roles as part of the EnerMech EPS team.
How did they end up scattered across Australia in remote locations? While Stacey has worked in similar roles through WA for sometime, Jacqui and Evelyn came from very different backgrounds…
Jacqui, a Site Adminstrator on the Jordan CPP site, started off studying a Double Diploma in Hospitality and Event Management, “I loved working in hotels for the people and the ever changing environment, I had moved through all departments from restaurants to finance and human resources.” As a big believer that with the right attitude you do pretty much anything, Jacqui found herself working in the “manufacturing/construction/electrical/hi-vis industry still just making my way through when opportunities come along and its brilliant. I love putting my steel caps on every day.”
Evelyn spent many years as a corporate Office Administrator, before falling into a role as a Project Administrator for an office fit-out and relocations company. “Loving the industry I completed a Diploma of Project Management and proceeded to do project work in Media, Local Council and the Energy Sector. I then landed my onsite role at the Desalination Project in Victoria and threw my stilettos away for the safety boots and have never looked back.” Evelyn is now on her 5th“swing” at EnerMech EPS’s Kathleen FCS site.
So what’s it like working as a female in a male dominated industry? To these women, they’re no different from their male colleagues, they don’t expect any special treatment and work with the positives.
Stacey believes the FIFO environment leads to a family atmosphere “Personally I haven’t encountered any issues relating to my gender. Everyone out here works as a team and we are all treated the same. To me working in a FIFO role creates a family atmosphere, as we are all away from home and loved ones and we live with the people we work with.”
Evelyn jokingly says there are never any queues for the amenities and the language can be a bit colourful, but on a serious note enjoys the lack of office politics, “I love working in this male dominated industry. No office gossip – no politics behind the scenes.” In terms of being the only female on the plane “I am one of the workers and don’t feel I am treated any differently because of my gender.”
Jacqui admits that for the first couple of weeks she put pressure on herself to prove that as a woman she was just as capable but this quickly subsided, “I don’t think it is as challenging as people make it out to be, woman or man I work within a fantastic team who all work incredibly hard at their jobs.”
The roles of Jacqui, Stacey and Evelyn are all vital to ensuring the sites they work on run smoothly. In such remote locations, always being organised and being ready to multi-task and meet any challenge head on is essential, or else all work could stop.
Jacqui’s role includes a variety of tasks no ordinary administrator would be up to, including ensuring staff take all their required courses and VOC’s and maintenance checks of vehicles, equipment and computers. Jacqui says to do this you need “to stay involved and understand what you and your company are doing on a specific job or site, you need to keep asking questions and continually stay interested and invested.”
Stacey’s role is equally varied and includes a huge array of differing tasks from auditing timesheets and rosters, all travel and accommodation, to ensuring availability of calibrated equipment, arranging repairs/re-calibration and maintaining on site vehicles. To succeed in this role Stacey maintains you need “Attention to detail, having a “can do” attitude, be prepared to do anything that is asked of you, go beyond what is expected.”
Again, for Evelyn variety is the name of the game as things change by the minute. Evelyn says flexibility and adaptability, being team oriented, excellent communication, respect and a commitment to working within the rules are what keeps her ahead of the curve. Being physically prepared is also key “People may think it’s hard to get up at 4.15am to start the day for a 10plus hrs shift but it is not at all. You just have to stay match fit and routine oriented to do the hours, eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle during your swing.”
A big thanks to Stacey, Evelyn and Jacqui for speaking with us in the little free time they have, and giving us an insight into the important role they play in delivering great results for EnerMech EPS clients.