Skills shortage frustration

23 Nov, 2005 08:45 PM
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WHILE rural manufacturers are being hit from all sides, skill shortages continue to be a problem, according to WA Rural Machinery (WARM) president Peter Nunn.

"Besides the WorkSafe issue the availability of labour is the machinery industry's next biggest concern," Mr Nunn said.

"Dealers are bringing in people from overseas to fill vacancies."

The mining industry also was taking staff from the machinery industry as it had with all agricultural sectors, Mr Nunn said.

Bruce Rock Engineering manager Damion Verhoogt said he was concerned about the lack of skilled workers.

"We sponsored two South Africans about nine months ago but we could still use more help," Mr Verhoogt said.

"We could use three more staff: a tyre fitter, mechanic and a boilermaker.

"Everyone is doing 12-hour days (voluntarily) to get through the workload.

"If we had three more staff we wouldn't need to do that and it would lift our profit margin."

Mr Verhoogt said Bruce Rock Engineering sponsored workers from South Africa because it could not find workers here, but it was a process he was not keen to repeat.

"We found that the government put more problems in front of us than helped us," Mr Verhoogt said.

"It is just crazy what they expect you to prove, when the whole point in getting in skilled workers from overseas is because we can't get anyone else.

"They didn't seem to cotton on that we were doing it through necessity rather than choice.

"It took us nine months from when we first applied for the visas to when they started working for us and that was just frustrating."

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