Do you need a degree to be successful in life? Why learning English will give you the success you are looking for.

I am getting older now (and hopefully a little wiser, but that’s subjective).

When I was younger, it was very much a case of – no degree, no job.

Having a degree showed that you knew how to learn, that you had discipline and that you had learned something. It wasn’t even necessary to have a degree in the field of your work – just that you had A degree!

Are things different today? Yup, they sure are!

So do we need a degree as a technical professional in the mining industry? Yup. It matters as much now as it did back when I was a graduate (in the Middle Ages it feels…)

But here is where it is different.

When I graduated, having a degree got you a job.

Nowadays, it isn’t enough. It is just the very start. Can you learn? Yup. Have you got some discipline? Yup.

But so does everyone else. Everyone else is going to university now and things are a LOT more competitive. And the world has changed with technology also.

It’s true to say that technology and the science world is changing RAPIDLY. It’s actually happening so fast that universities cannot keep up. They are teaching old systems, old knowledge and they are not quite as relevant anymore. But the laws of physics and chemistry haven’t changed (although our understanding may have slightly). But how we use them to our advantage has.

Some very successful, famous people in technology didn’t even go to university – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. What they were doing was way more forward-thinking than what was being done in universities! But they were not in the mining industry…

Now you have so many options to learn the skills you need. Short courses, the internet, mentoring and on the job training…. The list goes on.

So you can ask yourself this. Now you have your degree – what skills do you need to work on next?

Whatever it is that you need to show to at least match the skills of the other applicants – but even better is to stand out from the crowd! How else will you get access to the best 1% of the jobs out there?

In my experience, soft skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication can be just as important as technical skills in this industry. It absolutely made the difference for me in my career and opened up doors for me that I never even knew existed!

I have been working as a senior process engineer for the last 7 years (before I transitioned to doing this). But do you know, I am not actually an engineer? I got my first degree in geology and then returned to university and did my honours in Chemistry part-time (while working full-time as a development lab manager).

How did I do this?

I focussed on my soft skills after university. And I trained and mentored other people to do it too – which made my skills even stronger!

Basically, it matters as much that you can SHOW what you can do as you can DO what you can do. And we do this with problem-solving (getting results), teamwork (creating win-win situations for everyone and ultimately the business), and communication (the core of it all).

Communication. I can’t stress it enough. I believe it so strongly that I am no longer working in the industry directly. I still get job offers regularly to return to doing what I do because I am good at it, I get results, I can handle the pressure and I have a UNIQUE skill set that is in extreme demand in the industry today.

But communication matters. Even more than how well you can do your job these days.

Do you know of any examples of people you have worked with that were not exceptional (maybe not even above average…) but got amazing opportunities anyway?


It matters.

And these days, with globalisation, if you want to have a senior role anywhere, you need to speak reasonable English. It’s the new degree.

Not fluent English = no job/career advancement.

Find out what innovative options I have available for achieving fluency in English as a mining and metals industry professional.

Business English for Mining Professionals

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