Maintenance Supervisor and Diversity Pathways Project Lead

    Donna Stace

    Donna stresses that the ‘E’ in STEM doesn't just stand for an Engineering degree, but an engineering trade.

    Donna Stace is the Maintenance Supervisor and Diversity Pathways Project Lead at Rio Tinto, and is proof that you don’t have to go to university to kickstart an awesome career in STEM.

    Donna Stace has an epic CV. The WA-based qualified fitter and machinist is a formally trained mechanical engineer whose held a variety of exciting roles in the mining, oil and gas and construction industries, despite not going down the traditional university route.

    As last year’s State and National Women in Resources Outstanding Trade, Operator or Technician winner, she’s seriously passionate about increasing the visibility of diversity in STEM – something that her current role as Maintenance Supervisor and Diversity Pathways Project Lead at global mining group Rio Tinto reflects.

     “I’m practically minded and am always intrigued by how things work and why,” she says. “STEM roles [like this one] are the future of work and are always evolving, and I’m there to support more women in the mining, rail industries.”

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    Two jobs in one

    Being a Maintenance Supervisor at the 7 Mile Rail depot for Rio Tinto Railways Division in Karratha, means that Donna spends loads of time making sure that employees stick to the company’s strict health and safety standards. In an average day her job calls for a mix of supervising staff to maintain systems and equipment, completing preventive maintenance schedules and responding safely to break downs and planned plant shutdowns.

    “I’m the Maintenance Supervisor of a 70 Million Dollar Automated machine shop, processing ore car wheel sets for a fleet of 11,000 ore cars,” is how she describes her gig on LinkedIn. “My role includes the coordination and execution of the production and maintenance of the shop.”

    And then there’s her diversity pathways work, where she facilitates conversations with internal and external company stakeholders about end-to-end solutions to employment, diversity and inclusion.

    “I work with industry to provide pathways for women and girls to join the mining industry,” says Donna. “We need diversity in all areas STEM can provide financial and longevity in an industry which is of benefit to women.”

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    The E in STEM

    Donna is really excited about the future of work and the changes that the automation of equipment – and associated support roles – will bring, and is hopeful that we’ll see not only a big shift toward diversity in STEM but an acceptance of alternative study pathways.

    Donna’s study and career pathway

    • Mechanical Engineering Trade Certificate, North Regional TAFE
    • State (WA) and National Women in Resources Outstanding Trade, Operator or Technician Winner 2019
    • Maintenance Supervisor, Rio Tinto
    Cassie Steel

    Author: Cassie Steel

    As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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