Up to 1500 jobs are unable to be filled due to lack of workers in the Kalgoorlie Boulder region as mining projects amp up in area.
Kalgoorlie Boulder CCI CEO Simone de Been says the chamber has put the call out to get people to take up the jobs and move to the area. CCI’s Apprenticeship Support Australia and KBCCI are co-hosting an expo at CCI in Perth on March 28 to attract labour.
De Been says the skills shortage was identified when 50 businesses responded to a survey in December, which revealed 180 vacant positions. Further researched revealed the shortage was far greater with further opportunities advertised on jobs websites or available via word of mouth also going unfilled.
Industries with vacancies include not-for-profits, mining, engineering, education, local government, real estate and transport.
“I’m sure if we can’t get staff it is going to get worse because Kalgoorlie is ramping right up,” she says.
“All our drill rigs are out and everything is picking up here with the mining industry. Retail is quiet as it is all over Australia but mining wise we are picking up in gold, nickel and lithium.
“If we can’t get the staff businesses won’t be able to grow.”
De Been says the benefits of living and working in Kalgoorlie Boulder include a great work-life balance as workplaces are within a 10-minute drive and quality facilities in the town.
Hire now to avert labour shortages
Apprenticeship Support Australia manager Lena Constantine says employing apprentices and trainees will be part of the solution to the skilled labour shortages.
“The economy is shifting and employers in Kalgoorlie have started to actively recruit for roles and are already noticing difficulty with finding suitable employees,” she says.
Apprenticeship Support Australia, who co-locate with the KBCCI in Kalgoorlie, will be promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships at the expo.
“Ensuring your business is able to ramp up in the busy times requires long-term thinking. Plan for the skills your business will need to capitalise on economic growth. Invest in training while times are quiet,” Constantine says.
“It isn’t easy for business to do, as the rational approach is to minimise costs in down times. This is why we need governments to invest in supporting employers to continue training through quieter times, so we don’t get caught short when we need skilled workers to fuel economic growth.
“This is what we saw happen several years ago – we didn’t have access to enough skilled workers, we didn’t put enough thought into planning for busy times.
“We are seeing the same signs now; I absolutely think the signs are indicating skills shortages. It’s the regional areas that feel it first.”