STATE OF THE REGION
BOILERMAKERS IN DEMAND
BOILERMAKERS and fitters have two of the hottest tickets in town as Paget businesses fight for tradies to sit on their books.
It is a skills shortage that is forcing companies to knock back contracts from large mining houses just because they cannot find the employees to do the work.
And when they have someone on the books it’s not a certainty they will stay as four Paget engineering businesses told the Daily Mercury they were losing workers to more lucrative contracts. They were also gaining workers from other companies too.
This spike of work had come from mining companies playing catch-up after putting off non-critical maintenance of their equipment while coal prices were down, Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke said.
Since the coal price has increased the companies are scheduling in their mining equipment for an upgrade.
Hastings Deering needs 70 workers across its CQ operations and is looking to the future by taking on 40 apprentices, its largest intake in five years.
DGH Engineering will take as many boilermakers and fitters it can get.
This shortage has forced companies of all sizes to cast their web well outside of Mackay, advertising in print, radio and television all across Queensland.
Resource Industry Network has ran its own campaign to draw people to the region, advertising all around the Australia on Facebook about how beautiful Mackay is and how many jobs the region has.
Hervey Bay boilermaker Jayde Davies moved to Mackay as soon as he finished his trade to start a job at DGH Engineering and moved up in August. “If you’re young and willing to move around, places like Mackay are a great place to start your career,” he said.
Like Mr Davies, Phil Green started at DGH in August, moving from Coffs Harbour with his girlfriend.
“The money is a little bit better and we both were happy to travel and see more of Australia.”
But their boss, general manager Dave Hackett, said while some were happy to come to Mackay the people who left in the downturn were reluctant. “For them to take their families out of the region was a big cost and strain on everyone because it all just fell away so quickly,” he said. “They’re all too aware of the cyclical nature of the industry which takes about seven to eight years to change.”
❝ ... to take their families out of the region was a big cost and strain... — Dave Hackett
Both Phil Green and Jayde Davies found it easy to find jobs in Mackay and started at DGH Engineering in August.