New concept offers farming mining options

28 Apr, 2011 04:00 AM
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Mynew Workplace managing director Mike Agnew.
Mynew Workplace managing director Mike Agnew.

A NEW concept in labour hire provides farmers with opportunities to supplement their income in the resources sector.

Mynew Workplace managing director Mike Agnew said farmers had the right skills and work ethic sought by large mining companies but until now, the roster system had stopped many of them taking advantage of the labour shortage.

"Farmers are a large, untapped resource and mining businesses are starting to look at reorganising rosters to utilise the farming sector," Mr Agnew said.

"It could be sharing a position with another farmer or two farmers running one shift, for example."

He said farmers were familiar with large machinery and even if they did not have the official qualifications necessary for some positions, there were many different positions available.

"Farmers are bush savvy and situationally aware so they are perfect for positions like driller's offsiders or field assistants," Mr Agnew said.

"A lot of farmers have been pushed off farms due to the bad season and it's almost been a choice up until now that you need to pick one or the other.

"The mining companies are being proactive in their thinking and will now move towards embracing the farmer's situation in order to bring them on board."

Depending on individual circumstances, Mynew Workplace would work to fill any position to both the client's and recruitee's satisfaction.

Farmers can also earn extra money with Mynew Workplace's unique recruitment structure.

When they find a new person who is available to join the company, they receive a nominal four per cent of that person's wage.

For example, if the recruitee earns $100,000 a year, the recruiter receives $4000.

"If a farmer has a network of recruited people, he can go and work on his farm and not be working himself but still get his commission for his recruitees," Mr Agnew said.

"If there are 10 people on $100,000, they will be earning $40,000.

"It's going to be a huge benefit to country people because they can value-add to their incomes even when they are not working."

Mr Agnew said the commission would be paid as long as the people recruited were still working and earning money through the company.

"The incentive is just as significant for anyone coming into the company as opposed to just the people on top," Mr Agnew said.

"You can actually start a microbusiness within our business."

Recruiters keep receiving the commission as long as they do not go and work for another labour hire company.

Mr Agnew said the four per cent was what they would normally pay recruitment officers to find labour but the farmers effectively now became the recruitment officers.

Mr Agnew said the big mining companies found many people lied about their skills on their resumee which ended up being very expensive for the company.

He said there was a domino effect if one person could not do the job as it held up all the following trades.

He said this problem would be reduced for mining companies as farmers had a good network of people and knew who was a good worker.

"With our model, our people will be less likely to relocate because they have more money coming to them," Mr Agnew said.

Mr Agnew said their teams would be more likely to work well together and stay longer as they had been recommended by other team members.

"Because they do remain with us longer, they are more valuable to us and we can invest more energy into professional development and looking after them wholistically," he said.

"This would also allow them to better match people with jobs they were suited for and get a better understanding of any strengths and weaknesses."

Mr Agnew said employers could be sure their recruits had the right skills as they would be checked at his existing Gingin business, Limestone Park Earthmoving.

Limestone Park Earthmoving at the old Lee-Steere stud offers earthmoving, vegetation management, drilling and fencing services.

"Our people will want to put the best people forward because their commission is protected," Mr Agnew said.

Mr Agnew said the commission rate may have to be adjusted up and down depending on individual positions and the work climate.

"The farming industry can benefit from the presence of the mining industry and the mining industry would now like to embrace that pool of workers," Mr Agnew said.

"That's the future.

"Everyone wins, not just the workers but also our clients, because they start getting what they asked for.

"The whole of the Australian labour hire game will change under this model."

Mynew Workplace fills any position in the resources, oil and gas sectors including grader drivers, drillers, administration workers, project managers and cleaners.

Mr Agnew said he had grown up with mining and understood the industry.

He said his father, Sir Garrick Agnew opened up WA to mining with Lang Hancock, and started Robe River Iron, Pannawonnica, Shark Bay Salt and the Wundowie Vanadium project.

Mr Agnew has worked as a helicopter pilot for about 17 years, mostly in exploration and spent time with Alcoa on the blast crew, as an operator, and driving haulpaks, before he started Limestone Park Earthmoving about five years ago.

He said his heart was in the farming area and he hoped Mynew Workplace would enable people to supplement their income.

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