Start your career at Whitehaven

From engineering and geology to electrical and mechanical trades, there is a huge variety of ways to start your career at Whitehaven Coal.

Whichever path you choose, you’ll get the opportunity to: 

  • Work at one of Australia’s fastest-growing and most exciting mining companies 
  • Develop your technical skills and build core capabilities through on the job training at one or several of our operations 
  • Work in a supportive, team-based, environment where you’ll be encouraged to learn, ask questions and be involved in day-to-day operations 
  • Work with some of Australia’s leading industry practitioners and experts on the practical application of the skills you have learned at university or an RTO 
  • Receive feedback to assist your ongoing development 
  • Be part of a team that values respect, diversity, creativity and results. 

Whitehaven Coal
Graduate Program

Our Graduate Program is a two-year development program intended to grow and develop our future leaders. You’ll gain practical skills and training from both on-the-job learning experiences and formal development sessions. To ensure a breadth of experience, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the success of a range of our sites and offices through the rotation program.

The program is based on rotations to give you the best understanding of our business possible. These rotations are residentially based in the Gunnedah and Narrabri region, except for some functional rotations which are based in our Sydney and Newcastle offices. We assist by offering camp accommodation for your first 4 months.

Mentoring is a strong focus of the program. Within your first weeks with us you will be paired with one of our senior leaders, who will provide you with coaching and guidance as you move through your rotations and into your post-program role.

Express your interest in our Graduate Program here.

Program streams

We offer opportunities across the following streams:

  • Engineering: Disciplines we are seeking in the Engineering space include: Mining, Mechatronics, Electrical, Mechanical, Process, Mine Geotechnical, Civil, Metallurgy / Minerals Processing. Note: this stream is aligned with statutory qualifications through the NSW Resource Regulator that ensure you’re job ready at the end of the program. These qualifications include: Electrical Engineer (Open Cut & Underground), Mechanical Engineer, Open Cut Examiner.
  • Health, Safety & Environment: Disciplines include but are not limited to: Safety, Health, Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Environmental Engineering.
  • Geo: Disciplines exclusively include: Earth Science / Geology (Honours / Masters), Spatial Science (Surveying), Geotechnical Engineering (Masters), Mine Geomechanics (Masters).
  • Business: Disciplines include but are not limited to: Business, Commerce, Finance, Accounting, Supply Chain & Logistics.
  • Operational Technology: Disciplines include but are not limited to: Data Science, Information Technology – Cyber Security, Mechatronics, and Electrical Engineering.

Express your interest in our Graduate Program here.

Graduate Story

Meet Matthew

Matthew is a Graduate Mechanical Engineer.

Find out about his experience as a Whitehaven grad.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up in Wagga Wagga, South East NSW. After finishing my gap year working in Wagga, I made the move to Wollongong where I began a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Honours. At the end of my third year of study I undertook a 12 week Vacation program at Whitehaven’s open cut, Maules Creek.  I was offered a cadetship where I returned to work throughout my Uni holidays and in return Whitehaven supported me financially for the remainder of my degree, after which I began my 2 year graduate program.

    What does the average day look like for you? My day begins at around 5:15am when I get on the bus in Gunnedah and travel out to Maules Creek where I work in the maintenance department. As part of my Graduate Program I am lucky enough to rotate through various roles which gives me a broad exposure to the maintenance practices. I have spent time working on maintenance projects, in the execution team, planning and currently condition monitoring where we employ preventative maintenance strategies to monitor component health and try predict failures prior to costly unplanned events.

    What’s been the biggest surprise? How approachable and willing to help everyone was, initially I thought coming into a big mining company as a graduate that it would be hard to get things done and to have much influence on projects, I was surprised however to see how easy it was to get involved and positively contribute.

    Why did you choose Whitehaven? After completing my vacation program, it was clear to me that Whitehaven provided an environment where I would be given every opportunity to develop and learn the skills required to kickstart my career as a Mechanical Engineer. So far, I have been exposed to a range of training, hands on maintenance and am currently completing the Engineers Australia Graduate Program.

    How did you find the transition to North West NSW? Transitioning to the North West has felt relatively easy for me as it has a lot of similarities with where I grew up, if you like playing sport or outdoor activities like fishing and camping there is plenty to keep you busy outside of work.

    What do you think the next five years of your career will look like at Whitehaven? The next five years will see plenty of opportunities to sink my teeth into complex engineering problems, work in various roles and continue to develop as an engineer in a supportive environment.

    What advice would you give to graduates looking for their first job? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out of your comfort zone, ask plenty of questions and enjoy the process.

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    Graduate Story

    Meet Gabby

    Gabby is a Graduate Mechanical Engineer.

    Find out about her typical day, what she’s found surprising and what she likes best about being a grad at Whitehaven.

    Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up in Narrabri then went to boarding school and uni in Queensland. I’m a second year graduate at Narrabri underground and I’ve recently been stepping up into the conveyor engineer role. While at school I saw local people starting to get involved in mining and it sparked my interest as Whitehaven became a bigger presence in the Narrabri community. At uni, I had a cadetship with Whitehaven that allowed me to work onsite during holidays and gain experience with every department at Narrabri, giving me a head start in the graduate program.

    Why did you choose Whitehaven? I joined Whitehaven as a cadet in my first year of uni at the University of Queensland. I was already accepted into uni for engineering and saw the cadetship as a great way to get a head start in my career and move into a local professional role.

    Describe a typical day: Over the last year, I’ve worked in the surface department, the engineering team in the CHPP, on crew in an operational role and with the conveyor team. A typical day consists of completing maintenance tasks and planning, interaction with trades, reviewing and maintaining standards of equipment, and mostly, people management.

    What’s been the biggest surprise? I was concerned about being in a male dominated field and that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a professional as a female engineer. Although there are always challenges, the team at Whitehaven has always been supportive of my ambitions and decisions.

    What do you like best about Whitehaven? The opportunities for career development; I’ve been the project manager for a multi-million dollar project; had practical underground maintenance experience; and even driven a dozer. I’ve also participated in the WIMnet Mentoring program and the Engineers Australia Graduate Program.

    How have you found the transition to full-time work? I’ve enjoyed the transition. My favourite part is having a weekend every week without feeling guilty about not doing assignments or studying.

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    Graduate Story

    Meet Oliver

    Oliver joined Whitehaven as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer after completing his degree at the University of Newcastle.

    Find out about his experience as a Whitehaven grad.

    Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m from the Central Coast of NSW. I moved to Gunnedah for the job and really enjoy the lifestyle; it’s all about getting involved in the community through sport or other avenues. Working in trade-based roles alongside my university studies helped apply what I learned, and I couldn’t wait to start learning on the job. I didn’t always have an interest in mining, but I studied some mining-related courses at university and I’m now in the first year of the graduate program at the Narrabri underground mine.

    Why did you choose Whitehaven? The breadth of experience and the fact that you are not pigeon-holed into a single role; there is scope to pursue avenues that interest you and sink your teeth into complex and rewarding engineering problems. You have a purpose within the mine and that drives your progress while you learn valuable engineering skills beyond what you learned at university.

    Describe a typical day: I’m on a rotation through Surface Engineering Operations. Day to day I deal with maintenance tasks, consulting with and learning from trades to understand issues and work towards a solution or assisting with the maintenance task itself. There are also long term projects that require you to be looking forward and regularly planning and tracking goals.

    What’s been the biggest surprise? The ability to get involved and get your hands dirty, learning the job and being able to go away and actively apply what you’re learning. There is also a lot of support to go and get extra tickets and qualifications, things that broaden your ability and versatility within the mine.

    What do you like best about Whitehaven? It’s a great culture to work in. Everybody is approachable and prepared to help.

    How have you found the transition to full-time work? The change to working day-to-day on projects where what you learn is immediately applicable is rewarding and an important part of stepping into an engineering role and developing your skillset.

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    Get ready to gain invaluable hands-on experience at our Maules Creek open-cut and Narrabri underground mines.

    As a Whitehaven apprentice, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to excel in your chosen trade. We have openings for talented individuals in the fields of Electrotechnology, Engineering Mechanical, Mobile Plant Technology, and Automotive Electrical.

    In partnership with HVTC, our apprenticeship opportunities lead to nationally recognised Cert III qualifications from Registered Training Organisations. Don’t miss out on this chance to work with an industry leader, gain practical training, and lay the foundation for a bright future.

    Register Your Interest Now to join the Whitehaven family!


    Want to earn while you learn? In partnership with Programmed Skilled Workforce, we offer a Dump Truck Operator Traineeship program.

    The 24 month-traineeship will lead to a nationally-recognised Certificate III in surface Extraction Operations.

    Applicants must hold a high regard to safe working practices, be committed to learning on the job and be able to drive a manual vehicle.

    Intakes for this traineeship are ongoing. Find out more and apply by clicking a location below.

    Maules Creek location



    Through our cadetship program, a number of Year 12 students from the Narrabri/Gunnedah/ Werris Creek/Tamworth region can undertake work experience and receive financial support throughout the duration of their University studies.

    Applicants should have aspirations to pursue an Undergraduate Degree in Mining Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Geology, Geotechnical, Survey, Environmental Science or Finance.

    Studies would be undertaken at NSW or QLD’s major tertiary institutions, including but not limited to: University of New South Wales, University of Wollongong, University of Newcastle, University of Queensland or Central Queensland University.

    What are we looking for in selection of Scholarship recipients to participate in our program:

    • Year 12 students currently residing in the Narrabri, Gunnedah, Werris Creek or Tamworth region,
    • Ability and motivation to successfully complete the University degree
    • Academic progress throughout high school
    • Paid work experience is available
    • Experience working as part of a team
    • Any awards, qualifications or other significant achievements to date including school, community, sporting or other
    • Location of roles for Scholarship recipients: Located at our operational mine sites and our Gunnedah operations office.
    • Upon successful completion of their studies, cadets join Whitehaven Coal as graduate employees within their respective discipline for a period of two years.

    Applications are currently open.

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    Vacation program

    Whitehaven Coal offers Vacation Students the opportunity to join our team in a paid role for up to 12 weeks during summer holidays, & 2-4 weeks during winter holidays. These opportunities will be based at our mine sites and also our Gunnedah office.

    Applicants should be pursuing a degree in Mining Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics, Geology, Environmental Science, Workplace Health & Safety or Surveying. We accept applications from students within all year levels at University including those completing post-graduate degrees.

    Keep an eye out on our job listings for updates.

    Applications are NOW open until September 15th, 2023

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