Interview with Ben Thelan, General Manager at Maxiforce Recruit, regarding FIFO work


Looking for a career in FIFO but have some questions?

With almost 20 years in the mining and resources industry, there are few better qualified to provide the answers to the most frequently asked questions from recruits, than Maxiforce Recruit General Manager Ben Thelan.


Q:- What benefit does FIFO work have and why should I consider it?

Ben:- Working in the mining sector can be quite beneficial, as the salaries are very competitive, there are a lot of opportunities for professional development, and there is a certain amount of stability that working in a prosperous industry provides. Some people also find appealing the opportunity to live in places that you normally would not get the chance to, and also that you have extended break periods, as in FIFO normally involves a period of hard work followed by a period of break.

You also get accommodation and meals whilst you are on site. Our placements often lead to a permanent job with the client mine site.

Q:- What are the main FIFO jobs that are in demand right now?

Ben:-  Our current demand is for Diesel Fitters, Auto Electricians, Boilermakers, Fixed Plant Fitters, Electricians & experienced Civil Plant Operators on various mine sites

Q:- What are the average rosters?

Ben: – Maxiforce currently have various rosters with various mine sites. 7 & 7, 15 & 13, 21 & 7, 14 & 7

Q:- What areas can people fly out from?

Ben:- a large part of our workforce is required to FIFO direct from Cairns, however, we have a large number of roles available that are FIFO from Brisbane, Townsville & Darwin.

Q:- What is involved in the Medical Assessment?

B:- It varies from site to site, but generally they just want to make sure you are fit & healthy, as sites are quite isolated and the work can be hard. At Maxiforce we take our Duty of Care very seriously, and we want to make sure that you are fit for the work you will be doing. Normally you have to fill out a questionnaire with your medical history and other relevant information. The physical examination varies and sometimes you are asked for a chest X-ray, hearing test, blood pressure, fitness test, vision test, spinal or musculoskeletal assessment & drug and alcohol testing.

Q;- Are there opportunities for training?

Ben:- Predominately all our skilled workforce are site ready with the necessary skillset and experience to fill all site requirements; however, there is always an opportunity for growth in leadership roles & Maxiforce is always open to upskilling our current workforce with extra tickets and qualifications when required.

Q:-What sort of things should I consider before looking into FIFO work?

Ben:- It would be a good idea to talk to other FIFO workers, if you know any, to get a better idea of the pros and cons. Although everybody is different, and some people might find appealing what other people don’t.

I would also consider what it would mean for your home life and what sort of rosters would suit you better. Sometimes, we could have 2 or 3 different opportunities for the same job type but the rosters are different, and that could make a difference to you.

Another thing to consider about FIFO work is that some of the rosters are pretty long  (7, 14 or 21 days away from home), and once you have started and are on-site, you are required to complete the swing.

Q:- What other things do you advise for someone starting as FIFO?

Ben:- Just keep in mind that it might take 2 or 3 swings to get the hang of it and adjust to the longer hours or night shifts. So make sure you eat and sleep well. It is also good to exercise and keep fit, as that helps you with your general health and motivation. And when you have your time off, make the most of it, find time to relax and do things you enjoy, and spend time with friends and family.

In any case, if FIFO is not for you, Maxiforce has plenty of job opportunities for local work, so keep an eye on our Current Vacancies page and Facebook pages because we update them every week. If you don’t see anything that interests you but wants to be in our database for other opportunities, just give us a call on 07 4045 3433 or email us your CV or questions to