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Need for skilled labour to relocate

Luring skilled workers to the region remains the Kalgoorlie-Boulder economy’s greatest challenge despite the presence of entry-level opportunities in the mining industry, a Goldfields recruitment company boss says.

Fresh off a “record” day of job- seekers walking into his office looking for work, Highgrade Personnel managing director Kyran O’Donnell Jr said mining companies were willing to take on those new to the industry, but the vast majority of the demand was for skilled workers.

He said contrary to popular belief mining companies were happy to hire locally in favour of FIFO workers, but ran into trouble finding the skilled labour.

“Yesterday was probably a record day for us. We had about 30 walk-ins looking for work, that hadn’t registered with us previously, plus the phone calls,” he said.

They were not necessarily all skilled workers though, Mr O’Donnell Jr said. A lot were unskilled, trying to get into lab work, or those working in stores around town trying to get an entry-level position.

“I think a lot of people around town know there is a skills shortage so they are putting the feelers out to try and get that entry-level opportunity. We get some (into work) but not at the rate they are coming in.

“There still is the opportunity for entry-level work, companies are still open to it, in your processing and underground work.

“To be honest, a lot of the companies all want to hire locally, but they are not in a position to because the skilled workforce isn’t there, so they are having to do FIFO.”

Mr O’Donnell, who is also the vice-president of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the city’s businesses would reap the benefits of enticing skilled workers to move to the region.

“It keeps coming back to needing people to relocate to Kalgoorlie, attracting people to the city — that is the main thing,” he said.

“We spoke to a heavy duty fitter yesterday who relocated from Brisbane. He has doubled his pay packet. He packed up all his stuff with his partner and they moved to Kalgoorlie. Within two weeks he has a job and has doubled his money — so that is what we need, we need people to relocate from the Eastern States and South Australia.”

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