By Robyn Molloy

Employers feeling the pinch of a labour shortage brought their recruitment teams to Perth last week in the hope of enticing workers to the Goldfields to fill more than 1000 positions.  

CCIWA and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder CCI teamed up to organise the Kal Jobs Expo to help alleviate the skills crisis for the second year, with up to 1000 potential jobseekers attending, including one from as far away as Adelaide.

“We had about 30 families relocate directly out of last year’s expo which is a big boost for your industries in Kalgoorlie. There are vacancies across the whole spectrum including chefs, mechanics, drillers, fitters, child care workers and teachers,” KBCCI CEO Simone de Been said from the sidelines of the expo.

“Our members in the Goldfields are still complaining and we still have issues with the labour shortage, so to assist our members we decided to do it again. The booths are full, we had a lot of interest from the companies so they have all come down and brought their jobs here.

“It is really good to match the jobseekers with the businesses, so they can talk face-to-face and hopefully it has helped fill some of the gaps of the labour shortage for those businesses and will help them grow, expand and take on new work and new tenders.”

CCIWA’s Apprenticeship Support Australia Manager Lena Constantine said attracting workers to live in the towns meant they could tap into broader economic benefits such as more services and more resources to run businesses successfully. 

She said apprenticeships and traineeships were part of the solution to skills shortages and regions had become more affordable to live compared with the height of the boom.  

“It’s a really good opportunity and you don’t have to be young to access an apprenticeship or a traineeship, there were lots of mature age people looking for those opportunities to reskill and retrain and get into a different career path,” she said.

“What we are seeing is employers in the regions are utilising apprenticeships and traineeships to attract people out there because there are job opportunities and they can train people up from having no skills to becoming part of their workforces.

“In the metro areas they are still pretty flat in apprenticeship and trainee opportunities. So the regions have the edge to get people trained up and able to use that pathway to get into a skilled, high-paying career, so it’s worth the investment.”

Byrnecut’s HR Manager Angela Elsbury said the underground mining contractor had about 60 vacancies including engineers, truck fitters, truck drivers, shift supervisors and in administration.

“We’ve had lots of people fresh to the mining industry come through, probably more than 100 people, we take mature age people as well, so we’d welcome applications from them.”

Elsbury said resumes will be shortlisted this week but there were always 50 to 60 vacancies listed.

BGC Contracting recruitment adviser Karen Marra said a mix of entry level to experienced tradespeople expressed interest in the 40 roles on offer, with vacancies for heavy duty fitters and auto electricians most difficult to fill.

Australia’s largest open pit gold mine The Super Pit has 16 vacancies with positions for engineers and underground plant mechanic proving hard to fill, according to KCGM’s HR adviser Chelsea Butler.

“We’ve been advertising a position for a mine scheduling engineer for three months,” she said.

Mining services company MLG handed out more than 500 business cards during the expo in a bid to secure the right people for roles including mobile plant operator, road train driver, heavy duty fitter and an auto electrician.

“Some people are keen to get apprenticeships and if we can help them we will,” HR coordinator Terri Angel said.

Up to 500 skilled migrants will be offered jobs in the Goldfields in the first year of a five-year agreement signed last month between the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Federal government.

The Designated Area Migration Agreement will allow Goldfields employers to sponsor overseas workers in 73 occupations. Migrants must live in in the region and employers must show they were unable to hire an Australian for the role.

Need apprentices and trainees? Apprenticeship Support Australia is a free support and advice service for employers, apprentices, trainees and jobseekers and operates from 14 locations in regional WA. Find out more here