A major stumbling block is that the ideal worker for many employers needs both experience and youth, a valuable, affordable combination that often rules out both the experienced, and the youthful.
WNEWS THIS WEEK OF 80 ADANI EMPLOYEES MOVING TO TOWNSVILLE WAS HARDLY A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN OUR LOCAL WORKFORCE
HAT do we want? Jobs! When do we want them? Now! The old protest cry sums up our current situation perfectly, by all accounts there are people desperate for work, but not enough jobs to go around.
Employment holds a certain irony, there are many who don’t have to get up for work that wish they did, while others who have to get up often wish they didn’t.
When you are employed, it doesn’t take long to feel comfortable and secure enough to actually complain about it.
Who hasn’t moaned about having to go to work on a Monday, about time off, pay, hours or holidays? Guilty as charged, Your Honour.
We can all dream of winning lotto but the reality, of course, is we probably won’t.
Work gives most people purpose and a sense of self- worth.
Working looks far better on a resume than extended periods of unemployment, but a major stumbling block is that the ideal worker for many employers needs both experience and youth, a valuable, affordable combination that often rules out both the experienced, and the youthful.
With jobs in short supply employers can afford to be choosy, yet in the past few weeks we’ve heard of apprenticeships that can’t be filled and fruit that won’t be picked by locals, leaving trades going begging and eager backpackers enjoying working holidays on our farms.
You’ll also find them manning food and merchandise stalls at many events, not to mention their growing presence in the hospitality industry. This begs the question; where are the locals and do they want to work?
Is it too difficult to take on casual work and comply with Centrelink or Newstart requirements?
Is it easier to claim a benefit than accept a low- paid apprenticeship or the uncertainty of seasonal or casual work?
Unemployment can be a frustrating, confidence- sapping spiral of emotional and financial insecurity. Each knock- back is a blow to the ego and the economy, but each job vacancy is an opportunity to get out of the doldrums and get money flowing back into the household, and the community.
Politicians have borne the brunt of the jobs shortage. They’ve promised big projects that will turn our economy around. But how many of the anticipated projects will employ real locals, not those moving here temporarily?
News this week of 80 Adani employees moving to Townsville was hardly a vote of confidence in our local workforce. We can only hope the stadium looks to local companies first and the proposed battery factory, underwater museum and Singapore training facilities do the same when they get off the ground.
Drawing big projects to Townsville isn’t only about end results, using local workers during and after construction is an antidote to our jobs slump and shows confidence in the community.
While anything less will still mean new infrastructure for the city, if the only cash flow from imported workers is through rents and multinational supermarkets, it won’t only have come at a high community cost, these one- off constructions will be shrines to our biggest opportunities lost.