Mining the minds of those around him: meet Nicholas Rodwell
Nicholas found a goldmine of knowledge and expertise while working in the Iron Ore graduate program.
Nicholas Rodwell’s mind is filled with a fascination for maths and physics. It’s been that way since his younger years living in the United Kingdom where his strong inclination towards these fields simply always existed.
This passion would be nurtured in the classrooms of his high school on the east coast of Australia, where Nicholas developed a keen interest in theoretical physics.
Although he knew the broad field he wanted to enter, he was not immediately drawn towards the resources industry. In fact, Nicholas initially pictured himself going into scientific research.
‘My interest in research fell away after I started university,’ he says. ‘In the past few years, I’ve been drawn towards a more realistic application of my skills.’
‘The resources industry appealed to me because I don’t have to narrow down my field of expertise.’
After graduating with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the end of 2014, Nicholas started searching for a graduate position. A few of his friends and classmates had completed vacation work with BHP Billiton and spoke positively of their experiences. For Nicholas, this was all he needed to make our Company his first preference.
Despite knowing he wanted to work for BHP Billiton, Nicholas decided to play it safe and apply for over 30 positions. As it turned out, there was no need as he was accepted into our graduate program in Perth, Western Australia.
This was where Nicholas first started to understand that products from the earth was not the only source of value in the Company. He could also mine the minds of those around him.
‘We have a lot of people who know a lot of different things and have had years to hone their craft,’ he explains.
‘My two mentors are really passionate, knowledgeable people who are very keen to share their experiences.
‘A highlight has been the opportunity to unleash a hoard of technical questions, no matter how stupid they might seem, and having them answered without judgement.
‘I’ve also learned from my colleagues about communicating with impact and practising patience.’
Nicholas’ first role at Iron Ore was with Information Systems (now part of the Technology function).
‘I’ve really gained an appreciation for the IT world and its people,’ he said. ‘And I’ve discovered that we aren’t so different after all.’
His role for the next six months will be with Iron Ore’s Yandi Maintenance Analysis and Improvement (A&I) team.
In the future, Nicholas wants to do whatever he can to be a subject matter expert in his field.
But he also knows there’s more to life than work, and tries to maintain a life and passions that extend beyond his role. He says he is trying to model himself on his little brother, who moved to Canada to pursue a career in directing.
‘He could not be more different from me,’ he says.
‘And he’s the best example I know of “working to live”, not “living to work”. I think that’s something we tend to forget.’