Work ‘holiday’ lasts nine years and counting

Thu March, 25th 2021

A few years ago, Elastomers Australia Client Solutions Specialist Damian Gill found himself stuck in Nepal after completing voluntary work at an orphanage.

Following a plane crash at Kathmandu airport, there was a delay of a week before heavy machinery could be brought in to remove the wreckage and clear the runway for other aircraft to take off.

In that instance, the delay only lasted a week. In hindsight, Damian says the time spent waiting was valuable to help him process what he’d experienced volunteering in the orphanage.

“It was both a sad and happy experience,” he said.

“The kids were self-sufficient and didn’t want for anything. They knew how to look after themselves, were used to the very basic conditions and while they were outwardly happy, you could just tell they’d been through a lot in their lives.”

It is one of the many experiences that makes Damian thankful for what he has. But staying longer than planned has been a common theme in Damian’s life.

The Irish native came to Australia 12 years ago on what was intended to be little more than a working holiday. His aim was to pick up construction work for a few months, save some money and return to the Emerald Isle.

But after landing a job as a Service Technician with Elastomers Australia and spending a lot of time travelling throughout Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Damian realised the country had a far stronger hold on him than he’d thought.

Nine years later, he is currently the longest serving member of the WA team and has progressed through the ranks to become a Client Solutions Specialist.

“I got a phone call from a recruitment agency at 7am one morning and was being interviewed by noon the same day,” Damian said.

“At the time, I didn’t understand what Elastomers Australia did or what screen media was – I wondered if I was getting into the film industry.

“I had no prior knowledge of the mining industry but they obviously saw something in me they liked and a couple of weeks later I had the job.”

One of the major discoveries Damian made during his first work trip to the Pilbara was that it was far hotter than Ireland.

“I hadn’t seen much of Australia and for an Irishman, the heat was phenomenal,” he recounts.

But he survived the initial shock and over the years, has risen through the ranks at Elastomers Australia, from Service Technician and Senior Service Technician, to Supervisor and more recently Client Solutions Specialist.

Damian’s current role involves a mix of responsibilities. While he is office based a bit more than in his previous roles, he still has the opportunity to get out to site and do what he enjoys most – liaising with customers to identify solutions that help improve productivity, efficiency and safety outcomes.  

Reflecting on his time with Elastomers Australia, Damian says the company has proven to be a great place to work.

“I wouldn’t have stayed this long if I didn’t enjoy working here,” he said.

“There have been some changes over the past nine years but it’s always been the people that have made it the place it is.

“The company is very supportive and is focused on helping employees develop a career path.

Damian says he has a lot of plans for the future, but that includes staying with Elastomers Australia for some time to come.