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Driller's Assistant

No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Minimum Age 18+ Police Check Medical Exams First Aid Licence

Also known as Driller's Offsider.

Drillers' assistants help move, set up and operate drilling rigs and related equipment to drill holes for such things as oil, natural gas and water, building foundations, minerals exploration and site investigation.

Drillers and drillers' assistants usually work long hours on roster systems, either outdoors or underground, as members of teams or crews. The work is often manual and physically demanding. Compliance with all safety systems is essential.

The major sectors in the drilling industry are:

Blasthole drilling to place explosives for the removal of rock and ore in quarries and mines, as well as the construction of roadworks, dam sites and other capital works.

Mineral exploration and investigation drilling for suspected or known mineral deposits (this is carried out both in Australia and by Australian companies overseas).

Oil and gas drilling (this is carried out offshore and onshore by contract companies that are mainly employed by oil companies).

Site investigation/geotechnical drilling to determine the characteristics of soil and rock on construction sites.

Foundation/construction drilling on construction sites, usually in towns and cities, as a part of the building or construction process.

Water well drilling for stock and domestic or commercial bores (this is mainly carried out by private contractors based in rural areas).


    Drillers' assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • help move drilling rigs and equipment from site to site, set up in the new site and connect power cables or hoses for water and air supply
  • help obtain high-quality drilling core samples
  • assist drillers with all drilling processes
  • mix and test drilling fluids, chemicals and grout
  • assist with slotting, welding and inserting casing screens
  • assist with well development and pumping tests
  • operate equipment such as pumps for air, water and mud
  • carry out routine maintenance and repairs
  • clean and maintain equipment, as well as drill and camp sites


  • reliable and adaptable
  • good organisational skills
  • enjoy working as part of a team
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • enjoy practical and manual activities
  • aptitude for mechanics and machinery
  • willing to work in remote areas under difficult conditions

Interest Area

Outdoor Manual/Practical


Driller - runs a team of drillers' assistants performing the above tasks. Drillers may specialise in diamond core drilling, rotary/percussion drilling, coal seam drilling or water well drilling.


No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Minimum Age 28+ Police Check Medical Exams First Aid Licence

You can work as a driller's assistant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.

You can also become a driller's assistant through a traineeship in Drilling Operations or Drilling Oil/Gas (Offshore/Onshore).

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    All those who work in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC). In NSW, training is conducted by Registered Training Organisations authorised by SafeWork NSW. In the ACT, training is provided by Registered Training Organisations approved by WorkSafe ACT.

    To work as a driller's assistant you must be at least 18 years of age, undergo a National Police Check and pass a pre-employment medical examination and drug and alcohol clearance. Many worksites will also require you to have a heavy vehicle drivers licence and a Provide First Aid Certificate.

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Resources and Infrastructure Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Drillers' assistants are employed by drilling contractors, mining companies, oil companies, consultants and farmers. They work at construction sites, mines, and oil and gas exploration and production facilities situated offshore and onshore.

Demand for drillers' assistants varies greatly with commodity prices, general economic conditions and government policies in relation to mining, groundwater regulations and infrastructure projects.

Crossover from one sector of the drilling industry to another often occurs when a sector is quiet. Many drilling contractors operate in several sectors.

Opportunities exist for those with sound practical experience to move into management or supervisory roles.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Driller's Assistant Australian Drilling Industry Association Ltd Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee Ltd SafeWork NSW WorkSafe ACT

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