Jobless on the move
SKILL shortages are biting hard in the Gladstone region and the Queensland government is encouraging workers from areas of high unemployment, such as Cairns and the Gold Coast, to up-skill and move, as part of their Work for Queensland program.
Late-night Queensland Needs You advertisements and the start of the Federal Government's Enterprise Migration Agreement Scheme for resource projects are designed to fill about 70,000 vacancies across the state.
Workforce International senior consultant Naomi Irvin said the measures proposed by the government, such as funding a FIFO coordinator for the city of Cairns would have limited effect if the right people weren't attracted to Gladstone:
"If people are coming from a metropolitan area they often don't have the experience or skills from working in industry that are taken for granted here," she said.
She said while overseas recruitment could be a "touchy subject" Australians were very accepting of new colleagues. "If they're capable of doing their job, that's all that really matters," she said.
"You hear lots about 'language difficulties' on site, but they're cultural and they take time.
"It's what happens when workers from a naturally soft-spoken culture with different body language work in environments with lots of noisy machinery."
And it's not just about the money.
"A lot of our applicants want a roster that allows them to see their kids every weekend," she said.