22 December 2020
Ask a cadet: Hannah Croft
Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm near Burren Junction in NSW. I spent most of my childhood helping out on the farm, and playing outside. I went to high school in Armidale, and when I graduated I joined the Whitehaven Cadetship program. I have just completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management at the University of Newcastle, and I will complete an Honours year in 2021.
How did you choose what to study? Growing up on a farm I have always been interested in the environment, and working outdoors, and environmental science was the perfect combination of the two. The degree is also very broad, and has allowed me to learn about everything from soil, to marine biology, to ecology. Environmental science is such an important degree, and I am passionate about finding solutions to environmental issues, especially in rural areas.
Why did you pick a cadetship with Whitehaven? When I finished high school and started to apply to uni, the drought was severely impacting my parents’ farm, and I knew that I would have to support myself through uni. My dad told me about the Whitehaven cadetship when he saw an ad for it in the local Wee Waa paper. At that point I had never considered working in the mines, however I knew that experience gained during vacation work, and a graduate position would give me an amazing start in my career. The cadetship has given me so much industry exposure, while only being an hour and a half away from home.
Describe your typical day at Whitehaven: Each day at Whitehaven is different. I usually start my day at Narrabri Underground at 7am. As a vacation student I get to spend time with the various contractors on site, which allows me to experience everything from water sampling to flora surveys. I also get to spend time in the office, learning from the other environmental officers about the processes behind the environmental legislation Whitehaven follows. I also get exposure to different departments at Whitehaven, which has given me a general knowledge about the mining process.
What have you enjoyed most about your cadetship & Whitehaven? I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with different environmental and mining professionals, and learn about their careers. I also like how close Whitehaven is to home. There aren’t many opportunities for Environmental Scientists in the area, so having a rewarding job, that still allows me to visit home on weekends is amazing.
What would your advice be to someone considering doing an cadetship? Make the most of the opportunities presented to you during the cadetship, ask lots of questions and be willing to learn!
How has Whitehaven supported you throughout your studies? Whitehaven has assisted me financially, which has allowed me to go to university and study a degree I am passionate about. The practical experience I have gained from doing vacation work has helped me in my studies, as I have been able to apply theories I have learnt. Whitehaven has also recently offered me the opportunity of an extra year of study so I can complete an Honours year before I start the graduate program.
Is there anything that has surprised you to learn about the mining industry? Growing up I thought mines could do anything to the land they mined, so I was surprised to learn about the amount of environmental legislation and restrictions the mine has to follow to ensure minimal impact.
What are your future plans once you graduate? Once I graduate I will aim to begin the two year Environmental Graduate Program at Whitehaven. Beyond that, I would like to stay working in rural areas in the environmental sector.
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