Holly McVicar

Holly McVicar

Job title

Geologist – Database and Modelling

Who do you work for?

New Hope Group – an Australian owned and operated mining company which has been based in South East Queensland for more than 60 years.

Where is your job based?

Brookwater, QLD

What does your job involve?

I work for a small company which has coal, petroleum and mineral assets which I get to work across for exploration, research, and production. Recently I have also acted in a Senior Exploration Geologist role and my daily duties can cover anything from field staff supervision, exploration planning, cartography, geological modelling, coal quality, resource estimation and reporting, regional geological investigations, Government reporting, providing due diligence and M&A assistance, and I also work across a number of voluntary positions both within the company and externally.

Why did you choose to work in this sector?

My background is in the New Zealand Petroleum Sector, and having experience across different commodities has given me a stable foundation so far. I chose to diversify my background and experience the wider mining industry.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

Every day is different and exciting. I work with fantastic people, and have the opportunity to work across many projects.

What has been one of your recent achievements?

I was invited to speak at the 2015 SPE Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Conference as a Young Professional. I’ve been involved with the SPE Energy4me program since 2008 and enjoy having the opportunity to work alongside industry and education.

What is the most challenging part of your current job?

A challenge most people face in the industry is time management. For me, I often have a number of key tasks happening at once and being able to balance and plan to achieve these is very important.

What do you hope to do in the future?

Keep learning & developing my geoscience knowledge – whatever that capacity may be.

What are some of the benefits of your job?

The mining industry can be an exciting place to work. You get to meet people from all around the world, travel to remote locations, receive on-the-job training, see amazing geology and hopefully make the next big discovery!

Who were you role models, inspiration to choose this career?

I grew up in rural New Zealand and was always outdoors. My parents certainly fed my passion for the earth sciences as did my teachers and university lecturers.

What is it about your work/industry that made you want to pursue it as a career?

It’s absolutely fascinating, plus you get to travel and meet amazing people from all over the world. There’s always something new to learn and if you get the chance to cross-commodities it certainly widens your opportunities.

What are some of your interests outside work?

I love to cook. I’m actually an internationally qualified chef and run my own food production business on the side. I also love working with animals and have been a volunteer and foster carer for the RSPCA for many years.

Tell us something surprising about your work?

New Hope Group has a fantastic relationship with local communities that we operate in. Having a technical role you wouldn’t expect have much exposure to wider business and community engagement but we have a proud workforce who is positive about making a positive change.

What training did you have for this job?

My training started early. I attended Katikati College in New Zealand and actively participated in extracurricular science and math. I studied English, Calculus, Geography, Chemistry, Biology, and Food Technology.

I have a BSc in Earth Sciences from the University of Waikato, and a large portion of what I’ve learnt so far is from experience in the industry. I’ve completed a number of training courses following university and working alongside others with a wealth of experience behind them and asking questions is a fantastic way to learn.

I’m currently studying towards my MBA.

Why is mathematics important in your job?

I use mathematics in many areas of my job including; resource estimation, calculating our environmental footprint on the ground, geophysics, looking at our borehole data, to assist with operations planning and time management, coal quality analysis, and geospatial analysis.

How do you use digital technologies in your job?

Digital technologies come into all areas of the mining industry. From communications, software packages for resource modelling and reporting, online tools, GIS and cartographic software, to data storage.

What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?

Creating a successful career pathway starts early and I honestly believe that the key to success is to study and work in an area you enjoy.

There are many roles to play in the energy industry, whether you enter by trade or university qualifications. Good grades in school can help you get into selected courses and make you a scholarship candidate. Participate in any opportunity that comes your way. Be curious, those who ask questions truly go the furthest and whether they are in school or industry, there’s no such thing as a silly question. Questions open doors and provide free education.