In praise of FIFO lifestyle

Long-time FIFO worker Johanna Cowell says the lifestyle has allowed her to further her education. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d402061
Long-time FIFO worker Johanna Cowell says the lifestyle has allowed her to further her education. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d402061

The campaign, called The Other Side of FIFO, draws on personal experiences of West Australian locals like 32-year-old South Perth resident Johanna Cowell who moved from Sydney to Perth in 2002 for the opportunity to do FIFO work.

Currently on an eight-day on, six-day off roster, Johanna is Barrick Gold’s Underground Manager at its Granny Smith mine site and has been living the FIFO lifestyle for more than a decade.

‘Regional life did not appeal to me in my twenties as I am a city person and love art, theatre and music. Working FIFO allows me to enjoy both the dynamic environment of a busy mine and the benefits of living in a capital city,’ she said.

‘It has allowed me to pursue other interests and further my education in areas that relate to my career and areas that I am passionate about. I am able to concentrate on study during my days off and have this year gained my Masters in Applied Linguistics as well as a Certificate IV in Training and Assessing.’

Ms Cowell added that the lifestyle was not for everyone.

‘It can be a great lifestyle and allows some to see more of their families than if they were to work five or six days a week but the reality is that birthdays are missed, Christmas can be missed as can other key events,’ she said.

‘It is an individual choice, which should be made in conjunction with partners and family.’

Women in Mining WA was founded in 2003 to support women working in the mining and resources sector.

The other side of FIFO is the organisation’s current awareness campaign, which aims to foster a more balanced view of the industry’s Fly in Fly out lifestyle by giving voice to the individuals, both males and females, working in the sector.