Alivia Boyce isn’t your typical earthmover operator. The 24-year-old from Toowoomba has been a dancer from the age of 3 and graduated with a QUT dance degree in 2019.


Moving back to Toowoomba during peak Covid, Alivia found herself living with her parents while in a full-time dance teaching position at a prominent private school. Alivia began helping with the family’s earthmoving business, Denis Boyce Earthmoving, on weekends and after hours and discovered she had a knack for controlling the massive machines, “dad noticed I had a natural ability when operating the machines.”

After helping with the business for a while, Alivia’s dad offered her a position as a roller operator, and so began her re-training to move fully into the industry.

For Alivia, learning and working within her family’s business has helped her learn more quickly and comfortably:

“Having a supportive team environment is a great way to gain a different view from other operators’ perspectives and productively complete jobs to get the best quality outcome.”

Excited to find her way in her new position Alivia says, “starting in the construction industry intrigued me and I found earthmoving to be a challenging new career.”

With over 40 years’ experience in the earthmoving industry, Alivia’s dad is “an admirable industry professional to learn from.”

The shift from dancing to earth moving hasn’t been completely smooth, however.

Alivia says her biggest challenge has been shifting clients’ preconceived notions of what an earthmover operator looks like:

“My work has been challenging … specifically as a female operator. Clients often question my ability to operate the machines [and] are repeatedly surprised when they notice I am skilled enough to complete the job to their expectations.”

Alivia is determined to prove her skills despite the challenges she has faced. Part of this has been through continuing to gain skills and qualifications through CSQ-funded courses with EMC training.

Through EMC she has gained her roller, grader, water truck, dozer, and excavator tickets.

Alivia admits dancing and earthmoving are polls apart but says “as an earthmover I am learning a completely new skill set and profession that always keeps me discovering new ways to achieve each job.”

While she hasn’t found any direct crossovers between dance and earthmoving, Alivia’s ability to work as an individual within a larger team is a skill she is glad to carry over with her.

“In my pre-professional years as a dancer, we were often required to work as a team to create movement and work individually for creative development. This skill is also seen in the earthmoving industry as larger projects need to be completed in a team environment, but each operator is personally controlling their own machine.”

Alivia loves the challenge of adapting to the changing environments and conditions of her work, “it’s a very rewarding job and I find myself always learning new things that keep me involved and interested daily. You are involved with a diverse range of projects and can take your skills to every job site you apply for.”

No longer in the classroom or on stage, Alivia’s average workday now consists of swinging a 35t digger, stock piling material with a dozer, and droving a W model Kenworth Tipper for the family business.

Equipped for success with an array of qualifications from CSQ-funded courses, Alivia is optimistic about her future in the industry, “I am proud of how far I have come in three years, and I am excited to see where my future takes me.”


Click here to learn more about CSQ-funded courses