Tool pusher


Also known as:

  • Drilling plant operator

What they do

Toolpushers supervise the operation of offshore oil rigs and mining drills on land rigs. They manage the personnel that work on the rig and report to the head of operations regarding the work that is undertaken on the rig. They co-ordinate the various departments on a drilling rig and ensure that the work undertaken on the rig meets appointed deadlines. They may co-ordinate human resources, organise the delivery of tools, fuel and other resources to the drilling site, resolve work-based problems or disputes, make recommendation about improving productivity, oversee general safety and administer payroll.

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

Working conditions

Toolpushers work in the offices that supervise the operation of drilling rigs. Although they are required to have practical and technical knowledge about the operation of drilling rigs they mostly undertake administrative work in an office environment.

Tools and technologies

Toolpushers need to be familiar with all the equipment required in drilling operations, including the drills and their various components. However, as toolpusher is a mostly administrative role they also need to be familiar with office equipment such as phones, faxes and computers.

How do I become one?

Education and training

As an administrative role in the oil and gas industry, the most appropriate pathway for becoming a toolpusher is by entering the industry as a driller's offsider/leasehand, where you will learn to become a driller. You can then work your way up into the toolpusher role.

To enter the industry as a driller's assistant you can complete a Certificate II in Drilling Operations. This course is available at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

It is also possible to complete a traineeship in drilling operations. The traineeship usually takes 12 to 24 months to complete.

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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