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From service to success: Hancock Prospecting’s Veteran Employment Program

In addition to its impressive corporate successes in the mining and agricultural industries, Hancock Prospecting group of companies are amongst those leading the way in supporting the men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country.  

Hancock Prospecting’s Veteran Employment Program offers direct employment pathways for veterans and ex-Defence members, with ongoing support and resources to ensure they can successfully integrate and thrive in their new jobs. 

While already benefiting from the ongoing contribution of veterans across its varied business units, under the guidance and leadership of Executive Chairman, Mrs Gina Rinehart AO, Hancock Prospecting companies have upped the ante, taking a proactive and vocal stance in bringing more veterans into the organisation, as well as advocating for other businesses to do the same. 

The aim of the Veterans Employment program is to not only continue to increase diversity of experience across Hancock companies, but also to improve employment outcomes for veterans by providing targeted onboarding and ongoing support, understanding the challenges some servicemen and women can experience when transitioning into civilian employment. 

Built on good Australian values of loyalty, determination, mateship and compassion, Hancock Prospecting has grown to become Australia’s most successful private family company, one which its employees have termed, “the best company in Australia to work for.” 

With the variety of companies Hancock Prospecting operates, the range of careers open to veterans through this program is enormous.  

Its flagship iron ore operation, Roy Hill, located north of Newman in WA’s Pilbara region, is one of Australia’s largest single iron ore mines. 

Over the years, Roy Hill has been recognised with many awards for its performance and leadership, and is considered a trailblazer when it comes to the use of cutting-edge technology, innovative thinking and greater hiring of veterans.  

Hancock Prospecting also operates a world-class agribusiness and is one of the longest continuous owners of cattle stations in Australia.  

The company has launched a media campaign to spread the word about its Veterans Employment Program, while staff have been busy attending Defence Forums, military networking events, and is working closely with Working Spirit, RSL, SASR, Commando Welfare Trust, and Soldier On. 

Roy Hill employee Apollo Jones, originally from Adelaide, says he has army in his blood and always knew he would join one day, given a long family history of service. 

“It was a case of not if but when,” he says. “I entered the Army when I was 18 years old – straight out of high school.”  

“I joined the 10/27 Battalion Royal South Australia Regiment in 1999 and did my Officer’s course in 2000. As an Officer of the Australian Army, I took over a platoon, and served until 2004.” 

After five years, Apollo was ready for a new adventure and left the Army, bringing with him half a decade of skills and experience. 

Joining Roy Hill in 2020 as a Production Coordinator, Apollo’s attributes were quickly recognised. 

“I was promoted to Production Supervisor after a year and look after a team of Mineral Processing Operators, and together we make sure the processing plant runs smoothly. 

“I love leading a team and working together to achieve our goals. We’ve got a great team who band together. 

“I can’t recommend Roy Hill enough as a place to work, my time has been really enjoyable. I have been able to bring my training to a work environment and use the skillset I developed in the Army. 

“You’re building teams, responding to challenges, thinking on your feet. There’s so much work satisfaction in an environment that shares the same values as you and, just as importantly, values what you bring to the organisation.” 

Roy Hill Advisor Port Operations, Mick Findlay, joined the Australian Defence Force as a seventeen-year-old after leaving school.  

“Hancock Prospecting Group has been absolutely amazing,” he says. “Fair dinkum, it’s the most generous organisation I have worked for, and just the respect that is shown to the employees is amazing.” 

“It’s great to have that feeling of recognition for our support to the country.” 

The company takes an inclusive approach, recognising an ex-defence member as someone who has served in any capacity, in any service, in any allied country. 

Craig Harris was conscripted into the South African Airforce and served from 1982 to 1988. 

He now works as a scheduler for Roy Hill’s port operations, responsible for making sure the company’s rail operations line up with its shipping schedule. 

“Veterans looking to move on from their service in the military have a number of invaluable skills that they can offer the resources sector,” he says. 

“They should give Hancock Prospecting Group a go – the company is high-performing and the culture is fantastic. 

“Knowing that the company’s Executive Chairman Mrs Rinehart is passionate about the veteran community gives me a great sense of pride.”  

Hancock Prospecting’s support of those who have served is not only reflected in its recruitment drive, the company also supports many worthwhile causes benefiting the defence community. 

This includes a joint funding agreement with long-time trusted business partner POSCO, a world-class South Korean steel manufacturer, for a dedicated community gathering and performance space as part of the next stage of the Korean War Memorial project in Perth’s Kings Park. 

This is in addition to a recently announced significant, seven figure donation to help widows and their children after the loss of their husbands and fathers. It follows many years of Mrs Rinehart’s very generous contributions to the SASR Fund, Soldier On and other support for veterans. 

With agriculture and mining playing a crucial role in Australia’s living standards and future, veterans and ex-Defence members can take pride in the positive contribution of their work on the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation and its people. 

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