Shortage or a failed system?
THE news looks good, Western Australia is growing again, job ads are up, new projects, big harvest forecast, but...
No skilled people, from mechanics to drivers.
The mining industry, the construction industry, even we are all saying we have a trades, driver and labour skills shortage.
Yet every day I have people ring me and say I got a licence but no experience. No one will hire me. I am just going to give you four quick stories, and let you decide what the problem is.
The Pool Room
I grew up in a house and with a dad that was a close to Darryl Kerrigan and his Castle as you could get.
We even had the fake wood panel pool room, an extension Dad built himself, naturally without any building permits.
It was a brilliant pool room, perfectly built for a six-by-three pool table.
However a mate of a mate of a mate had a bargain on an eight by four, so that’s what went in the room.
So games of pool at our house ended up adding the extra dimension of body contortions to make shots.
OK so where am I going with this? Well, in the pool room proudly hung Dad’s A-Grade Mechanics certificate. He was proud of it and so we were.
He earnt it, he went to night school, worked during the day and even extra jobs on the weekends to put himself through and keep us fed and happy.
A while back, we were talking with a truck driver and something came up about qualifications.
He said, “Yeah, I got some bit of paper, it’s some certificate or other, some bloke sat in the cab with me for a couple of hours and asked me a couple of questions and I got this certificate.”
We think it was a Registered Training Organisation issued Certificate for Driving Ops.
We think, because the driver had no idea where it was and really didn’t care.
He thought it may have even been in the bin.
Like most of us closer to retirement than high school, I learnt to drive in the paddocks with my uncles or around the truck yard as a kid when Dad was servicing the trucks.
“Go back that truck up over there.” Off you would go, only to be told that was “----ing awful – do it again”. And on it would go over the years before I turned 18, as the uncles or Dad would tell you do it again and do it properly this time.
However one day, they looked at the way I did it, and said begrudgingly, “Yeah, not bad”.
And with that you knew you had graduated from the paddock. Importantly, they trusted you to do the job.
During the Battle of Britain, many new pilots had as little as 10 hours flying time before they were sent in to battle.
Despite their courage, these inexperienced and ill trained pilots suffered the highest casualties and also caused the most damage to planes during landing.
How long does it take to get say, a HR truck driving licence? When you get it, does that make you a truck driver? Is the person with the HR truck licence, job ready and safe, proud of what they have achieved and have earnt respect for having completed it?
So is it a skills shortage or just a failed training system?
THE QUESTION: Cam Dumesny poses the question – is it a skills shortage or a failed system?