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Aged 19, Gabby Wilson is already setting a high bar as an Indigenous woman in mining

Rhiannon Clarke -

Nyamal woman Gabby Wilson may be a fresh 19-year-old face in WA's mining industry, but she is already proving a star employee for one of the world's largest companies.

Ms Wilson was last week named BHP's Indigenous trainee of the year at the company's 2022 Indigenous Awards, where Indigenous workers were recognised for their hard work.

The awards celebrate the achievements and contributions Indigenous Australians and champions for change make to BHP and its local communities.

Ms Wilson a drill operator was recognised for displaying excellent performance at work and in training, including the willingness to go over and above their normal duties.

A proud Nyamal woman, Ms Wilson started work at South Flank a week shy of her 18th birthday, thanks to her aunty.

"I had spoken to some of my family members who had experienced mining life, and it sounded very appealing to me," she said.

"My aunty sent me a Facebook ad for a traineeship in the drill and blast team.

"I had no clue what drill and blast really entailed, but I was excited and had a good feeling about it."

When starting at BHP, Ms Wilson knew she was the youngest drill operator at BHP's South Flank Operations, but she was ready for the challenge.

She credits the support from team members and leaders for helping her settle quickly into the FIFO lifestyle, especially when there were a few bumps along the way.

"I knew I would be one of the youngest in my team, but soon discovered I was the youngest on site," Ms Wilson said.

"The hardest part was my own thoughts, to be honest.

"I worried whether people would think I wasn't mature enough to handle the lifestyle.

"In the end, it drove me harder to do my best and to prove my worth at BHP."

Within a month, Wilson was working on a drill, supported by a trainer, and within three months, she was qualified and confident to operate a drill herself.

Now, at the young age of 19, Ms Wilson is building her own home, enjoying a new 4WD, and proudly accepting the title of Indigenous trainee of the year.

Taking in all her accomplishments and achievements, Ms Wilson hopes to encourage other young indigenous people who are hoping to work for BHP.

"Never feel like you are alone â€" everyone has been in your position once, even though it may not feel like it," she said.

"You'll always have people to support you whether it be family, friends or work colleagues.

"I would also say don't be afraid to have goals that might seem out of reach for others. Aim for something that you really want in life, it will help you progress."

Ms Williams said her career had helped achieve her home ownership dreams.


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