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Meet Emma Richards - our QRC Indigenous Award finalist

Meet Emma Richards, a multi-skilled Operator at Curragh and one of our QRC Indigenous Award finalists for 2022. Emma is one of our many talented women making a valuable contribution to our team, operations and business.    

Meet Emma Richards - our QRC Indigenous Award finalist

Emma’s career in the resources industry began through Thiess’ Sisters in Mining program in 2017 - a program helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women transition into the mining sector as trainee haul truck drivers.

Making her mark from the very start, Emma completed her certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations and was runner-up for Trainee of Year at Thiess’ annual Rising Star Awards, which celebrate the achievements and contributions of Thiess’ apprentices, trainees and graduates.  

Today, Emma operates some of the largest mechanical haul trucks in the world, including the CAT 789C, CAT 779D, CAT 793C, CAT 793F, as well as water trucks including the CAT 777F, CAT 777B and CAT 785C. She has also taken on the role of mentoring new Sisters in Mining trainees and other employees as they begin their journey in the resources industry.  

“I really enjoy being able to share my experience and support new Sisters in Mining trainees, as well as new employees, as they step into a new role and adjust to mine site life,” Emma said.  

“It’s been an honour to be part of a program that provides women the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and discover a new career path.”  

Emma’s contribution to the Indigenous community extends beyond Thiess and was first recognised in 2015 when she was awarded the Indigenous Person of the Year during NAIDOC Week. Emma has spent a number of years working as a Community Education Counsellor at North Rockhampton High School, where she completed her Diploma of Education Support (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) through the Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP). 

Emma continues to work as an Indigenous Education Support worker and ambassador for RATEP, while still working as a full-time employee at Thiess.  

“For me, it’s important students have role models available that can help them focus on education outcomes, while providing mentoring on the social and wellbeing aspects of their lives,” Emma said  

“This helps provide options, opportunities and positive outcomes for the next generation of Indigenous students.”  

Unwavering in her commitment to promote respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, she has begun attending meetings with her local Traditional Owners and Rangers to progress a Cultural awareness initiative in her local community. While the plans are still in development, she hopes to foster greater cultural awareness on her country through practical and theory training components that showcase Indigenous history and local culture.  

“I’ve always been passionate about promoting respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and sharing the significance and protocols associated with removing items from country,” Emma said.  

“Working at Thiess has provided a great platform to ensure these learnings and lessons are shared and passed on to the next generation.”  

Creating lasting value

At Thiess, our purpose is to create lasting value, and Emma lives this purpose in all she does – in her work at Thiess, in the resources industry and in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Community. Every day Emma is transforming possibilities into positive legacies and we’re incredibly proud to have as part of our team.  

We wish Emma and all the nominees the best of luck at the awards night, happening on June 23. 

The QRC Indigenous Awards promote and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees within the resources sector. The awards aim to promote the industry as a career of choice for Indigenous people and showcase Indigenous role models and ambassadors within our sector.