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  • #1 in Mining, energy, oil and gas
  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees

Jeet Patel

Having a tangible positive impact on frontline workers through my work really makes my job rewarding.

What's your job about?

BHP is a diversified mining company with assets in a variety of commodities all around the world. I work at Olympic Dam, a large underground copper mine with a full processing plant 500kms north of Adelaide. In the BHP graduate program, we complete three rotations based on our discipline. As a mechanical engineer, I started in the Project Delivery team and have recently moved into the Mobile Equipment Reliability team.

My role in Project Delivery was to predominantly support senior project managers with the daily running of projects. This involved facilitating meetings with internal (technicians) and external (consultants) stakeholders to go through project plans and engineering design requirements, visiting construction sites to check on progress and updating cost forecasts. I also managed a few procurement projects of my own which was a significant responsibility I didn’t think I’d get as a graduate! This mainly involved defining project specifications with stakeholders and conveying this to suppliers while ensuring everything was documented correctly.

In Mobile Reliability, I’ve been analysing cost and downtime data of our underground vehicles to optimise our maintenance strategies, conducting trials for new safety initiatives as well as refining a continuous improvement process which aims to empower our technicians to raise and implement their own improvement ideas.

An average day for me involves attending safety prestarts, checking emails, crunching data, creating informative slide decks, attending progress update meetings and spending as much time as possible in the field with technicians to gain a greater understanding on how they work.

What's your background?

I was born in India but moved to Australia when I was five and have been living in Adelaide ever since. After graduating high school I decided to study mechanical engineering as I’ve always been obsessed with any form of transport, especially trains, planes and ships.  I also had a keen interest in business finance so I ended up studying a double degree with finance which I think provided me with a well-rounded education.

The biggest highlight from my time at university was spending a semester abroad at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. It was unreal experience which taught me a lot about resilience and surviving independently in a foreign country. I also went on a study tour to Nepal with Engineers Without Borders where I learnt about the importance of empathising and really connecting with the end user when designing solutions for them. These experiences helped me increase my confidence and definitely helped me with my transition from studying to full-time work.

My pathway into BHP began back in 2018/2019 when I was lucky enough to get into BHP’s internship program. I spent 3 months working in the Engineering Support team, getting a taste of FIFO life while working on improvement projects at Olympic Dam’s processing plant. I really enjoyed my time during the program, made plenty of new friends and worked with great people so when I received a graduate offer for a 2020 start, I keenly accepted.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

I believe so! Anyone with strong problem solving skills, an exceptional ability to work in cross-disciplinary teams and an open mind to learn will likely do well in this role if they are willing to put in the time. However, a solid understanding of engineering principles is definitely desirable to really succeed.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is the amount of time we get to spend working with technicians out in the field. In my Mobile Reliability rotation, I spent a month working with our mobile maintenance crews which meant getting nice and dirty fixing broken-down trucks underground! I also love that I’m never stuck in the office and can always just go for a quick walk over to the technicians to discuss any hurdles I’m facing. Having a tangible positive impact on frontline workers through my work really makes my job rewarding.

What are the limitations of your job?

The biggest limitation of my job is probably understanding and navigating through the many processes that are common at any large organisation. It can be quite frustrating at times trying to tackle these but I find that if you step back and try to understand the reasoning behind these processes, going through them can be bearable. Also, this job does require a lot of travelling and early starts which can have an effect on your personal life but there is plenty of support available and the community up at Roxby Downs is very welcoming!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Join as many clubs as possible, as early as possible and try to get exposure to different types of extra-curricular activities.
  • Ask questions earlier rather than later, especially relating to course work. There are plenty of resources available so make the most of them.
  • And finally, try to relax and enjoy the uni experience as a whole because once you start full time work, sleep-ins become a thing of the past!