Business short of skilled crew

Chef Peter Baca has nine year’s overseas restaurant experience.
Chef Peter Baca has nine year’s overseas restaurant experience. Tony Martin

BUSINESSES throughout the Bowen Basin are struggling to find qualified staff, but will importing skilled workers from overseas be the answer to their problems?

Owner of Angelo on the Marina restaurant, Angelo Leonforte, said finding skilled staff had become impossible over the past five years.

"At the moment I am working seven days a week in my kitchen because I cannot find qualified staff," Mr Leonforte said.

He has now hired Polish chef Peter Baca who has nine years experience in the kitchen.

"He is fully qualified and is excellent at his job," he said.

As many as 40,000 workers will be needed by 2020 to fill the Queensland Resources sector's growing shoes.

Strategic Paget Group deputy chair, Alan Rumming said many engineering-based companies were already having trouble finding tradesman.

Mr Rumming said engineering companies were getting qualified boiler makers from the Philippines to come to Mackay on 457 visa's.

CFMEU, Central Highlands district vice-president, Chris Bradsky said companies should invest in more training.

"Regardless of where you come from you need knowledge, training and experience ... the multi-national companies are not putting enough energy into training," Mr Bradsky said.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokeswoman said all applicants for a 457 visa must demonstrate they have the skills and experience necessary to perform their occupation in Australia and they did this by submitting evidence of qualifications and experience.

MAIN's Narelle Pearse said MAIN had established programs to help tap foreign labour.

"Companies are already investing heavily into training. The demands are so high you need a combination of both," she said.

Topics:  bowen basin businesses staff

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