The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Samoans settle in Ararat
A Wimmera manufacturing company desperately trying to attract staff has employed 46 Samoan workers to address a major labour shortage.
Ararat company AME Systems paid about $3000 for each of the workers to quarantine in Melbourne after they arrived in Australia in early July.
The company has signed onto a Federal Government Pacific Labour Scheme, which allows Pacific Island workers to move to rural and regional Australia for up to three years.
AME Systems managing director Nick Carthew said the new workers would support the company’s rapid growth.
He said hard work went into securing the employees, who had become a welcome addition to the workforce.
“We want to thank the entire community for getting behind us during this process,” he said.
“My family is very grateful to be able to maintain AME Systems in Ararat.”
All new employees have transitioned into their assigned areas within the business. They have completed workforce inductions, manual-handling training, functional assessments and enjoyed bus tours of Ararat district.
Mr Carthew said AME employees had learnt family, community, singing, dancing and religious worships were important to their Pacific Islander co-workers and were excited to welcome their culture.
“I’m very impressed and appreciative of all the AME Systems employees who have welcomed the Samoans and helped them feel very welcome,” he said.
“We are committed to our local community and this initiative will make a real difference in securing jobs. If anyone is looking for work, please go to our website to see what we have available.”
Mr Carthew said although the new employees were adapting to Victoria’s cold weather, everyone was ‘extremely positive’ and embracing the Australian experience.
He said when the state was easing out of COVID-19 lockdowns, the Samoans had started to venture out into the community shopping, dining and learning what to do in the region.
“They are especially keen to get involved in community sport,” he said.