Rory Clifford

Rory Clifford

University of New South Wales
Continuous Improvement Project Officer
Rory studied Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at University of New South Wales

What's your job about?

HSE Mining is a mining contractor owned by Swire, operating at various mine sites in Central Queensland, supplying labour and machinery to these sites. My role is centred on business improvement, specifically process improvement and process mapping, as well as support for my manager around project control, meetings, documentation and project implementation.

My main role is to assist in the management of all Continuous Improvement projects we have in our pipeline. On any given day, I will assist in the creation of project documentation, liaise with staff in each department with projects currently underway, organise meetings and record minutes for any project meeting, and analyse data to present for reporting.

Basically I constantly communicate with my manager about what is most important in any moment, and dedicate my time and effort to these tasks – be it in project organisation, meeting plans, document writing, staff contact, or data analysis.

What's your background?

I grew up in the coastal town of Coffs Harbour (though I was born in Melbourne), and stayed there until I finished high school. This time on the coast was awesome, and luckily I was able to secure a place at the University of New South Wales. I’d say my university experience was the most formative time in my life, especially my exchange experience in Canada for 6 months at the University of Western Ontario. While at university in Australia and abroad I lived on campus at a college, which I found to be an incredible way to meet people, get involved in sport and activities and overall enjoy my university experience.

I have been working now for around 9 months’ time, and have been in the continuous improvement role at HSE Mining for this entire period. It has been phenomenal for my development in this early stage of my career, and has allowed me to be exposed to every department in the one role. One of the amazing parts of the Swire program is the fact that in 6 months’ time, I will be in a completely new place in a new role, doing completely different work. This keeps it exciting! Overall I think this role is perfect for someone starting out in the workforce, so I am incredibly lucky to have discovered the opportunity.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes - The beauty of a role in business improvement is that it is all about taking a different perspective – looking through a different lens to identify possible improvement areas and then implementing strategies to address these opportunities. I think anyone with strong process skills, problem solving ability, and who can clearly present their opinion has the potential to excel within this role. They just need to remember to be patient!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The best part about my role in business improvement is that it allows me to interact with every department within HSE Mining, and as such a variety of different people in different roles. The best parts of the role are when we are successful in rolling out a project, or “improving” an area, so that has kept it exciting and rewarding. These moments ensure that even in the times of disappointment, we can still stay motivated and maintain our drive to continuously improve.

What are the limitations of your job?

I’d say the biggest limitation for my HSE Mining role in continuous improvement is that there is only so much we can improve with the resources we have (time, money, people etc.). In saying this, this has also allowed me to take on significant responsibility early in my career, and independently work on behalf on the team. This has been tremendous for my own development and confidence, and has given me skills I never expected I would learn.

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

My advice is to make the most of university, it truly is the most exciting and free time of your life. Do this with the following – 1) If possible, travel on exchange to another country for at least 6 months. This was my favourite part of my university experience. 2) Join a society or 5 at your university, this is an amazing opportunity to meet other people, develop your network and enjoy yourself. 3) Live on campus if you can – I met my closest friends and had the most amazing experiences through living on campus!