March 8, 2011

Alcoa Employee: Top Woman in Resources

An Alcoa employee, who originally started her career in banking, has taken out top honours at the 2011 Women in Resources Awards in Perth.

On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Kym Jones won the ‘Outstanding Woman in Resources-Trade/Operator/Technician’ category, ahead of industry colleagues from BHP Billiton Nickel West and Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

The prestigious Awards, run by the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME), recognise individual excellence and outstanding contributions to the State’s resources sector, as well as serve to promote positive role models to young women considering a career in industry. 

This Award comes just two days after Alcoa of Australia was announced as an ‘Employer of Choice for Women’ by the Federal Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency for the 10th consecutive year.

A Singleton (Mandurah) local, Kym has been with Alcoa for 15 years and is Wagerup Refinery’s Operating Centre 2 Maintenance Group Leader. 

Kym moved out of the banking sector into administration for a contracting company, before making a decision to pursue a career at Alcoa.  With the hope of being an attractive potential candidate, she gained her B-class truck drivers license.

“I had always wanted to work outdoors and played a variety of team sports at a high level most of my life, so the opportunity to do physical labour and keep fit while learning new skills was too good to be true. With Alcoa just down the road from home it seemed right,” she said.

“After being on the tools as an Alcoa Trades Assistant for 13 years, I felt I had achieved as much as I could in terms of skills and knowledge but I wanted to improve myself and progress. I did an 18 month frontline management course and learned how to manage and lead people.

“I was the first shop-floor employee to achieve this - it’s about determination, setting yourself challenges and goals and not giving up.
Today, in her current role, Kym has 30 employees reporting directly to her.

“I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved and now I have the opportunity to use this win to inspire others to achieve their career goals.”

Within the broader resources industry, Kym has played an instrumental role in mentoring female apprentices and well as the coaching of both male and female colleagues.

“I want to encourage women to recognise their effort and skills and be proud of their work ethic and contribution. I try and do this in my own way by supporting the development of talented women and encouraging them to aspire to move into more senior roles, and talking to them about how this can be achieved with a good work/life balance.”

Alcoa of Australia Managing Director Alan Cransberg congratulated Kym on her win.

“Kym is an outstanding performer and a great example of what can be achieved with drive and determination.  I’m incredibly proud to have an Alcoan winning this award and Kym should be proud of what she’s achieved so far too. I’m sure there are more great things to come in her career yet!” he said.

“As a business we know we stand the best chance of attracting and retaining the right individuals who will be the best fit for our company by providing an environment where we encourage diversity, not only of gender but of thought as well, and provide opportunities for women to realise their career potential.

“These remain central strategies for us, because we as a company are only as good as the people we’ve got working for us.

“More than 60% of our people have been with us for more than 10 years and I believe that speaks volumes about the sort of workplace we offer.”

Alcoa’s Paula West was a finalist in the ‘Women in Resources Champion’ category. Paula is Alcoa’s Area Mechanical Engineer, Calcination and Shipping, at the Kwinana Refinery.

“Big congratulations to Paula also. Becoming a finalist makes her a winner in my book. She does a fantastic job at Kwinana and has built up an excellent brand for herself, she’s very well respected by her peers,” Mr Cransberg said.

To find out more about careers at Alcoa visit www.alcoa.com.au/careers.

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