A 23-year-old BHP Billiton employee has become the first woman in NSW to earn an engineering certificate of competence.
Gabrielle Elsing was one of three company workers to pass one of the state’s hardest mining exams and is now able to work as a mine mechanical engineer.
Elsing who works at Dendrobium Mine, completed the certificate with Appin Mine's Jason Quirk, 43, and West Cliff Coal preparation plant's Tim Pratt, 30, Illawarra Mercury reported.
The process involved two written exams on a range of topics including health and safety laws and practical knowledge of underground operations.
A one-hour oral exam is also required to earn the certificate.
Illawarra Coal president Troy McDonald said gaining the certificate was no easy task, praising Elsing for her hard work.
"Not only is Gabrielle the first female in NSW to hold the engineering competency ticket, she is also only in her second year of the BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal Graduate Program - an impressive qualification to obtain so early in her career," he said.
"Our graduate program is an important part of our long-term commitment to the region and to see these young employees achieving results like this demonstrates that Illawarra Coal's commitment to employing local youth is paying dividends. “
Elsing started with Illawarra Coal as an undergraduate three years ago after deciding a job in mining was for her in her first year of a mechanical engineering degree with the University of Wollongong.
"I enjoy the challenge of working in this industry,” Elsing said.
Elsing hopes she can use her certificate once she finished her graduate program.
"I would like to have a career progressing hopefully towards using my ticket," she said.
Image: Illawarra Mercury.