Mackay’s Resource Industry Network is targeting workers coming off the $55 billion Ichthys LNG plant construction project in Darwin as part of a raft of strategies to address Central Queensland’s skills shortfall.
The Darwin plant was officially opened on November 16 and a construction workforce of about 2500 remains to finalise works, down from a project peak of about 10,000 workers.
RIN general manager Adrienne Rourke said that group had been working with the Department of Jobs and Small Business to get Mackay’s message out to that massive labour pool.
“It’s probably a bit cheeky, but with any major project like that the government has staff working in that space to assist people to look for their next move,” she said.
“There is a one-page flyer we did up
for the people in Darwin. We are probably not the only ones being promoted on that site, but we are trying to be as helpful as possible and providing them with information they can give to people so that people coming off the project can look at Mackay as their next option.
“We want to be front of mind for the people that are finishing there and looking for other work opportunities.”
People are pointed towards a jobs page on the RIN website allowing them to submit their CVs on a platform that reaches multiple RIN members with job vacancies.
“Members have listed their HR contacts and the types of roles they are recruiting for, so people don’t have to approach each individual organisation,” Ms Rourke said.
“We are trying to make it easy and convenient for both sides.”
RIN has taken similar measures to reach out to ex-Defence personnel seeking jobs.
Many were suitable candidates for work in the resources and METS sectors due to their experience with heavy machinery and high-risk environments, as well as a willingness to relocate, Ms Rourke said.
RIN has been focusing on the regional recruitment space for about two years due to growing concerns about a skills shortage.
“When the mining downturn hit, a lot of people left Mackay as they lost jobs or contracts or their work finished,” Ms Rourke said.
“So we did lose a significant amount of people and we could see that once work picked up we would not be able to fill those roles.”
The organisation has worked closely with the Mackay Regional Council to promote the lifestyle advantages of Central Queensland.
This year they launched ‘case study’ videos, such as a promotion involving a young man who moved to Mackay for work and was able to buy a house, which he could never have afforded in Sydney, where he originated.
“We’re trying to make sure also that we are retaining people in the region,” Ms Rourke said.
“Some people have the impression that in some roles, to progress, they have to go to a capital city – so we are trying to look at some ways to help our membership lift the retention rate as well, so there is a range of career development work we are doing.”
Ms Rourke said part of the challenge in encouraging someone to relocate for work was having job options for their partner as well.
She said there were opportunities across every sector in Mackay, but people needed help making those connections.