Driller


Also known as:

  • Drilling plant operator

What they do

Drillers supervise the drilling of holes in the earth for oil, water and natural gas, mineral exploration, building foundations and site investigation. They oversee the transport, installation, maintenance and operation of drilling rigs, collect drilling core samples, undertake development and pumping tests and operate pumping equipment, and clean the areas around their wake. Drillers also make decisions about which section of a drilling operation will work at which times, and supervise teams of assistants who help to carry out the tasks undertaken in each section of an operation.

Specialisations include: Directional driller, Exploration driller, Jumbo operator, Power tong operator, Raise drill operator, Rig manager, Rock drill operator, Stope miner

Working conditions

Drillers work on drilling rigs with large mechanical machinery. They work outside or underground in most weather conditions and their work may be hot, noisy or dirty, as well as potentially hazardous. They may work long hours on a roster system, which may include long periods of time away from home.

Drillers may work anywhere around the State, on large-scale construction projects and oil/gas/mining operations.

Tools and technologies

Drillers need to be familiar with the parts and operation of small portable and large-scale drills, as well as the pipes, cables and coil tubing used in conjunction with these. They may work with mechanical, electric, hydraulic or pneumatic drills.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a driller you usually need to complete a drilling operations or driller traineeship. These traineeships take 12 to 24 months to complete.

You can also improve your employment prospects if you complete a Certificate II in Drilling Operations, offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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