STATE OF THE RE­GION

BOIL­ER­MAK­ERS IN DE­MAND

Daily Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Camp­bell Gellie camp­bell.gellie@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

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

PHOTO: CAMP­BELL GELLIE

Both Phil Green and Jayde Davies found it easy to find jobs in Mackay and started at DGH Engi­neer­ing in Au­gust.

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