Career Scoop: Rough Neck / Rig-hand (Drilling)

Career Scoop file, on what it's like to work as a Rough Neck (General Rig-Hand)In a nutshell, what do you do?

I’m a general Rig-hand, working on drill rigs in mines.

Why did you choose this career?

To try something different, that was challenging both physically and mentally – as I’d worked in plumbing for so long that I knew it inside out and was bored, just going through the motions.

What path did you take into it?

I moved out of plumbing by researching some different jobs and asking around, talking to people doing the jobs that appealed to me. Once I found something that sounded good, I got referred by a friend working in the field, and did some up-skilling.

What, in your opinion, is the best bit of being a Rig-hand?

The physical and mental challenge, and the camaraderie of being in a team-based environment. Also, when I leave the mine to come home, I do a hand-over to the incoming team and can then leave my work behind and fully relax for my 2 weeks off (I do a 2 on/2 off roster).

Every job has its downsides. What do you think are the worst bits?

Being away from home, friends and family (as the mine is some distance away, and I live on-site with 3 weeks on, 3 off).

Is it what you expected when you first started out?

No, but I did not know what to expect. The training structure and the career path potential is much better than plumbing, which is a saturated trade at the moment.

What do the public least understand – or mistake – about what you do?

What my whole job concept is, and what actually goes on, on a drill rig.

What kind of people tend to do well in this kind of career?

You have to be physically fit and strong. It also suits more physically and / or mechanically minded people.

Finally, any advice you’d offer to people looking to get into this line of work?

Find someone who does the job and ask them for their input and advice; find out how they got into the industry.

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