They say you should never waste a good crisis, and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we have learned to adapt and be flexible in a very rapid manner.

So why would we not use this disruption to our advantage and start to look at roles in our organisations in a different way? Whilst the mining industry has been deemed an essential service through the pandemic, it has not been exempt from the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce.

The mining sector has needed to adapt in ways around health and safety, rostering and remote working and these changes could very easily become the new norm. This report explores the current opportunities to redesign and reshape the mining workforce, with a focus on embracing technology, enabling remote working, accelerating diversity and attracting new talent.

For many years Australia’s mining sector has been perceived as the backbone of Australia’s economy. In a year like no other, the importance of the mining sector to the Australian economy was recognised early on in the COVID-19 pandemic and was quickly listed as an essential service in all states.

This meant that the Australian mining sector had to adapt quickly to the restrictions and evolving requirements, particularly regarding the workforce. Rosters had to be altered to accommodate quarantine requirements, numbers of workers on site were restricted and special attention needed to be given to vulnerable remote Indigenous communities.

However, with unprecedented disruption comes opportunity. Mining organisations now have the chance to think differently about the job roles that need to be done and move towards shaping a workforce that’s prepared to respond to the vulnerabilities of its human workforce. The opportunity now exists for the mining sector to consider a fundamental enterprise-wide redesign of roles.

Technologies can augment tasks and offer alternative ways to deliver work remotely, introducing new skills and capabilities into the workforce. These emerging technologies mean that the sector needs to look beyond solely transforming whole roles, and instead reimagine all roles by transforming parts of them.

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