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People's Choice Awards 2020



Category: Trainee of the Year

Reece Oldfield

Reece OldfieldQualification: Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations
Trained by: Train 365 Indigenous Corporation
Group Training Organisation: Skillset
Hosted by: Moolarben Coal Operations Pty Ltd

“I love working with new equipment and large vehicles. I was employed in earthmoving when I realised mining required similar skills, but offered greater career development and a better work/life balance. I also knew once qualified, I could transfer my skills to any mine worldwide – that really opens up a whole new world of opportunities!”


Reece soon secured a surface and operations mining traineeship with Skillset hosted by Yancoal Moolarben Coal Operations (MCO) in Mudgee.

He was happy to work split day/night shifts in various pits across the site as this gave him the ultimate insight into what a surface operator role entails.

“Reece is an extremely impressive individual,” says Jessica McKay, Marketing Manager for his group training organisation Skillset. “At MCO safety is the highest priority. There were many times Reece was working independently and made decisions about proper safety procedures based on the conditions he was experiencing in the field. During storms or heavy rain, Reece took the initiative to tell supervisors the situation needed reassessing before work could continue. His supervisors appreciated this level of maturity and initiative.”

Reece OldfieldReece feels that the quality of his training played a significant role in helping him maintain a healthy work/life balance.

“Troy from Train365 conducted all of my training onsite, which I found much more engaging,” says Reece. “Troy has passed on the most vital skills required for my job. I was able to take his theory and confidently perform at MCO while having my skills further enhanced by my supportive team mentors.”

Working with a crew of up to 50 members on any given day, Reece has many opportunities to learn from experienced operators and witness different individuals perform a task in more efficient ways.

Passionate about his Mudgee community, Reece is known throughout the wider region for his commitment to community service and youth mentorship.

A founder of the Rylstone-Kandos Show Youth Committee, Reece was president for five years.

For the past eight years, Reece has volunteered with the NSW Rural Fire Service, where he was elected crew leader. Holding considerable responsibility in times of crisis, his role involves monthly training sessions and he’s on call 24/7 for major road accidents.

“During the horrific 2019/20 bush fire season I had to take unpaid leave,” says Reece. “There were countless times I was called to fight fires across the region, often after a 12-hour night shift. I’m incredibly lucky to have had MCO’s support.”

In recognition of his leadership and community service, Reece was awarded the 2017 Mid-Western Council Young Citizen of the Year.

After completing his traineeship, Reece gained employment with MCO as a mineworker in the open cut section.

“My goal is to continually better myself and keep learning. I never want to be in a position where I’m left behind because I have outdated skills or lack knowledge of industry trends. My training has shown me the immense value of practical experience and mentoring.”