Employment agencies offer skills

HIGHER paid jobs in the mines are putting a lot of pressure on local industries, leaving employment agencies to pick up the slack.

With unemployment levels hitting a year-long high in Gympie, employment agencies are moving towards closing the gap by offering specialised training to meet the trade skills shortage.

Industries crying out for skilled workers are mining and minerals processing, utilities, communications, construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality.

The current skill shortages are due to a persistent decline in the apprenticeship training rate and a sustained high level of output for most of the last decade across the industries that employ a high proportion of tradespeople, says Dr Phil Toner, senior researcher for the Australian Expert Group in Industry Studies.

Dr Towner said the reduced training rate was caused by changes in the economy over the past two decades, including changes in demographics, school retention rates, privatisation and corporatisation of public utilities, and outsourcing.

With state and federal funding, agencies like Employment Services Queensland are upskilling the unemployed to reverse this trend.

The employment and training agencies recently placed seven clients into training for entry level positions in Coal Seam Gas Drilling.

For the past few weeks, participants have been doing what they call “soft skills” in preparation for drilling skills training, which commenced this week.

ESQ site manager Kerry Fullarton said the agency “screened, matched and referred” people to jobs as well as training providers.

“Basically what we do is work by individual case by case. We look at where the client's at and try and match their skills to a job available and/or we refer them to training programs chosen through consultation with the client.

“We try to match training to a skill shortage list because that's where the jobs are, but ultimately it boils down to their career goals or their job aspirations.”

Coal Seam Gas drilling skills training is funded by DEEDI and DEEWR with the objective to train participants for entry level positions in the industry.

Gympie Times

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