Are mines shafting employers?
AUTO electrician Dale Hiscock has called for legislation forcing mining companies to train their own tradesmen after losing five employees to the lure of the resources boom in the past few years.
Mr Hiscock, who owns Allwired Autoelectrix, said he was investing his time and money in training apprentices only to see them head for the mines and the big money on offer there.
"What happens is I put an apprentice on, and the whole time they are apprentices they don't make you any money," he said.
"Once they become tradesmen they will make you money."
Mr Hiscock said the last apprentice he trained left him for the mines four months after qualifying.
"I just can't compete with what the mines will pay," he said.
Mr Hiscock said a new tradesman would take home almost $700 a week.
He said one of his recently departed apprentices was now working four consecutive 12-hour shifts and having four days off, and for that he was grossing $2300.
Mr Hiscock said small business owners were constantly being told they should train more apprentices, but that "there should be a level playing field".
On the other side of the coin, he said he had taken some job inquiries from people sick of the shifts they were working in the mines.
"But when we start to talk about pay, they tell me they can't survive on less than $2000 a week," he said.
Mr Hiscock said he believed the State Government should bring in legislation forcing the mines to train apprentices.
"They're making it very hard to be in small business," he said.
Acting Skills Minister Cameron Dick said the government believed workers had a right to choose where they lived and worked.
"We will continue to offer training programs and opportunities for all Queenslanders," he said.
"We are working to link Queenslanders with skills and training opportunities, to meet resource sector demand for skilled workers."